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Country report: Improvements driving Spain's dairy sector

Total Spanish dairy exports may lower slightly in 2020 as a result of Covid-19. However, the Spanish dairy industry expects exports to rebound in 2021.

The domestic consumption of milk and dairy in Spain over the last 3 years have seen an upward trend. According to the Spanish dairy industry, this rising trend in domestic dairy consumption may continue in the coming years. Improvements in agronomical factors such as animal genetics, nutrition, installations, animal health, and animal welfare significantly enhanced efficiency and the production of cow milk. This restructure also resulted in higher Spanish bovine genetic imports from the United States valued at $4.5 million in 2019, increasing 20% over the last 5 years, says a USDA report.

The domestic consumption of milk and dairy in Spain over the last 3 years have seen an upward trend. Photo: Shutterstock
The domestic consumption of milk and dairy in Spain over the last 3 years have seen an upward trend. Photo: Shutterstock

Trade and consumption

Exports seem to be making headway in terms of trending upwards. This has been the situation over the last 10 years in the dairy sector. The report further added that this was valued at $1.8 billion in 2019.

Covid-19 weighed heavy in many sectors, but in the Spanish sector in the first months of 2020, despite the Covid-19 pandemic dairy exports fell only by 0.8%. The major dairy products exported in value terms are cheese, milk and cream, yogurt, infant preparations, ice cream, and butter. 70% of the Spanish dairy exports go to the EU while the United States, Saudi Arabia, and China are the major non-EU export destinations for Spanish dairy products.

Spain’s dairy sector – an inside view
the dairy industry is one of the most important in Spanish agri-business, generating a turnover of around € 13 billion a year and creating more than 60,000 direct jobs. Read more...

Focus on sustainability

The Spanish dairy sector has said that there continues to be work done on improving social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Spanish dairy production contributes significantly in terms of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GEI). With this as a backdrop, efforts have been carried out to lower the environmental impact, through dietary modifications, improving manure management, reducing the number of animals per farm due to an increase in yield per cow, and by an efficient management of grazing. All these measures are in line with the new EU Green Deal strategy.

Future dairy farm

Spanish industry sources say that the slight declining trend in dairy cows expected for 2021 may flatten cow milk production in 2021. Additionally, Spanish demand for goat milk is increasing as consumers consider it a healthy option. Spain’s goat and sheep milk powder exports, primarily driven by exports to China for infant formula manufacturing, are expected to continue growing in 2021. However, most medium and small Spanish sheep and goat milk producers have been the most impacted by the Covid-19 situation and are likely to decrease their operations, added the USDA.

Source: USDA