It is currently more profitable for Spanish dairy farmers to sell their livestock as meat than to produce milk, with the skyrocketing costs. The Spanish dairy industry has seen less and less milk production in recent months.
Older dairy cows that deliver less than 25 – 28 liters per day are also increasingly being slaughtered, 50,000 head in the past year and a half. As a result, the number of dairy cows has fallen to below 800,000 and Spain may have to import milk this year.
The recession started in June last year with the rise in animal feed prices, supplemented by more expensive diesel, energy and the outbreak of war in Ukraine. Milk production started to decline at the beginning of this year when an annual -1.4% was recorded, and in June that drop was -2.7%.
Although part of the cost increase has been passed on in the chain, so that the selling price of milk has risen by an average of 20 cents/litre, the dairy farmers have not been able to cover all the increased costs.
The number of cattle (meat and milk) going to the slaughterhouse increased by 10% year-on-year in May. The chairman of the dairy farmers' association (Agaprol) calls this reality “justified because in many cases farmers lose money”.
Milk production is expected to decline further in the summer months, when the animals are producing less. Problems may arise with the national milk supply in the autumn, it is expected. That could cause problems for cheese production in November.