2009-CC-Global-trends-in-milk-quality-More-IVJ

Global trends in milk quality: implications for the Irish dairy industry More SJ

Centre for Veterinary Epidemiology and Risk Analysis, UCD School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin,

Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland E-mail: simon.more@ucd.ie

Abstract The quality of Irish agricultural product will become increasingly important with the ongoing liberalisation of international trade. This paper presents a review of the global and Irish dairy industries; considers the impact of milk quality on farm profitability, food processing and human health, examines global trends in quality; and explores several models that are successfully being used to tackle milk quality concerns. There is a growing global demand for dairy products, fuelled in part by growing consumer wealth in developing countries. Global dairy trade represents only 6.2% of global production and demand currently outstrips supply. Although the Irish dairy industry is small by global standards, approximately 85% of annual production is exported annually. It is also the world’s largest producer of powdered infant formula. Milk quality has an impact on human health, milk processing and on-farm profitability. Somatic cell count (SCC) is a key measure of milk quality, with a SCC not exceeding 400,000 cells/ml (the EU milk quality standard) generally accepted as the international export standard. There have been ongoing improvements in milk quality among both established and emerging international suppliers. A number of countries have developed successful industry-led models to tackle milk quality concerns. Based on international experiences, it is likely that problems with effective translation of knowledge to practice, rather than incomplete knowledge per se , are the more important constraints to national progress towards improved milk quality.

Keywords: global dairy industry; Ireland; milk quality; quality; somatic cell count

Irish Veterinary Journal Volume 62 Supplement 5-14 2009

Introduction Global markets have been critically important to Irish agriculture for some years. In these, but also in domestic markets, competition will intensify as a result of ongoing moves towards liberalisation of international trade. In this setting, Irish agricultural product cannot hope to compete on price alone, and quality will become increasingly important to Ireland’s ability to successfully compete into the future (More 2007). An understanding of global competitors, and of global trends in milk quality, will play an important role in the efforts of industry, at all levels, to strategically plan for the future. As a contributor to this process, this paper presents a review of the global and Irish dairy industries, considers the impact of milk quality on farm profitability, food processing and human health, examines global trends in quality and explores several models that are successfully being used to tackle milk quality concerns.

The global and Irish dairy industries In 2007, world dairy production reached 655 million tonnes, including 551 million tonnes from cows. During the last ten and one year period, there has been an increase of 17.2% and 1.4%, respectively, in cows’ milk production. The EU is the largest milk producer, followed by the US, India, China, Russia and Brazil. The growth in milk production is mainly concentrated in China, India and the Americas. In 2006, 6.2% of global production was traded across national borders. There is a growing global demand for dairy products (approximately 3% annually), fuelled in large part by growing consumer wealth in developing countries. Global competitiveness is also fuelling new uses for milk-based ingredients, rising demand for cheese variety, an increase in niche product markets and increased product shelf life. Supply from traditional exporting countries (the EU, Australasia) has not kept pace with demand, leading to the emergence of new suppliers

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