Technology will address growing need for dairy: IFCN

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

The IFCN held its dairy conference at Teagasc in Cork, Ireland.
The IFCN held its dairy conference at Teagasc in Cork, Ireland.

Related tags: Dairy, Milk prices, Dairy production, Milk

The dairy research network IFCN said between now and 2030, the worldwide demand for milk and milk products will be three times the level of current US milk production.

It was one of the main findings of the IFCN’s latest publication discussed at the 19th IFCN Dairy Conference, which was held recently at Teagasc in Cork, Ireland. 

Today, about 876m tonnes of milk is produced worldwide, and Dr Torsten Hemme, IFCN managing director, said the increased demand is not only due to more people living in the world, but also the per capita consumption will increase, due to growing prosperity and worldwide investments in dairy product development.

Increased demand

The ICFN founder added the increased demand will be covered by higher global milk supply. The dynamics of structural changes of dairy farms internationally will continue and farms will intensify their farming systems. Hemme said by 2030, IFCN forecasts an increase in milk production and demand in total by 35%.

IFCN indicator

Trevor Donnellan, head of the Teagasc agricultural economics and farm surveys department, said the conference allowed international researchers to gain a better understanding of how the recent expansion of Irish milk production has been achieved.

“Visitors have been particularly impressed by the way in which dairy expansion has been achieved at relatively modest cost,”​ Donnellan said.

Conference participants included researchers and representatives from dairy and dairy-related companies. A key topic for discussion was the future role of new technologies in milk production.

New technologies

The most significant developments expected in the future are in biotechnology and big data. Robert Walker, from the Alltech Company, said, “New technologies will come from the capacity to collect more data. Think about drones, blockchains, picture analysis. Better technology will also help to interpret data to make production more efficient and help to safeguard resources.”

Georg Kaufman, from DSM, added new technologies would also be important in reducing the dairy sector's greenhouse gas emissions.

The short-term IFCN outlook points towards a continuing increase in milk supply worldwide. In 2017, world milk production grew by nearly 4%, significantly higher than the growth level in 2016. However, growth has started to slow down significantly in 2018. Key factors in the slower growth in 2018 are climate anomalies in New Zealand, the EU and Argentina and a challenging economic situation for dairy farmers in the US.

For the second half of 2018, IFCN expects supply and demand growth to be more aligned, with an expected world milk price level of $35-37 per 100 kg.

IFCN has published a brochure with illustrations of its Dairy Outlook 2030 article, which is available for download.

Related topics: Dairy Health Check, Markets, Fresh Milk

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