UK dairy exports increase in 2018 with most going to EU

Cheese exports were up 11% at 190,000 tonnes
Cheese exports were up 11% at 190,000 tonnes

UK dairy exports increased last year with most products going to the European Union, new figures show.

Exports were up in 2018 for butter, cheese and raw milk, with most of it going to the UK's main export destination, the EU.

Cheese exports were up 11% at 190,000 tonnes. Key growth countries included Ireland, Germany and Spain, according to figures from AHDB Dairy.

Exports also increased to Malaysia, China, and Algeria, but from a low base.

Butter exports were up 14% at 62,000 tonnes. Additionally, higher prices boosted export value, up 23% at £275 million.

The Netherlands and Belgium were key growth countries. Exports to regions outside the EU either declined, or were up by relatively low amounts.

Exports of milk (1-6% fat) rose 5% to 846,000 tonnes. Nearly all of this was raw milk crossing the Irish border into the Republic of Ireland.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the tariffs these exports could face may disrupt the export situation as it currently stands.

Despite this, a report aimed at identifying a strategy for the UK dairy industry post-Brexit concluded that the 'future is bright' for British dairy farmers.

It comes as a UK organic dairy cooperative highlights the 'growing opportunities' in trade with non-EU countries, namely with the United States.