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The seasonal trend doesn’t help with controlling milk prices.

The milk production tends to rise during winters when calvings by buffaloes peak usually result in price reduction. But this year, unfortunately, the dairies are paying more for milk during the current “flush” season (October-March). The international market trends indicate that milk price is all set to climb further.

In the domestic market, dairies are trading SMP at Rs 245-255 per kg, as against Rs 180-190 in September and the Rs 140-150 lows touched in July. Even more striking is the increase in milk fat prices. According to Ganesan Palaniappan, a leading Chennai-based dairy commodities trader, ex-factory rates of cow butter and ghee are ruling at Rs 305-310 and Rs 400 per kg, respectively. These are up from their corresponding levels of Rs 260-270 and Rs 340-350/kg in September and Rs 200-225 and Rs 280-290 in July. All this is affected the prices as well. Maharashtra dairies are obtaining cow milk (with 3.5% fat and 8.5% solids-not-fat content) at Rs 27-28 per liter, compared to Rs 24-25 in September and Rs 18-20 in July.

The hike in milk prices is nevertheless unusual at this time. The calving season for animals, when more milk starts emerging from their udders, generally begins from September. The temperature and humidity levels drop during this time. Improved fodder-cum-straw availability from the monsoon rains and harvesting of the kharif crop, too supplements to the production. The calvings peak in the winter and continue till March-April before the onset of summer.

The condition could become out of control in the coming days. Very few dairies hold enough stocks of powder and fat. International prices sure affect exports and imports. And obviously, the lockdown due to covid made it difficult for farmers to access artificial insemination services


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