Estonia sets new dairy milk production records

17-05 | |
Estonia's dairy industry is not just thriving domestically, but also making its mark on the global stage. Photo: Canva
Estonia's dairy industry is not just thriving domestically, but also making its mark on the global stage. Photo: Canva

While milk farmers in some neighbouring countries can barely make ends meet, the Estonian dairy industry shows outstanding performance.

In 2023, Estonia manufactured 895,000 tonnes of raw milk, 5% higher than the previous year. This is the highest figure in the last 31 years, the Estonian Statistical Department has reported.

“The last time milk production was higher than now was in 1992, but productivity was 3 times less then. If 30 years ago 1 cow produced 3,500 kg of milk per year, now the average is 10,600 kg,” Anton Kardakov, senior analyst with the Statistical Department, revealed. The average productivity last year also climbed by 5%.

Ending up on top

“Milk production data for 2023 for other EU countries has not yet been published. Compared to 2022 data, Estonia’s results in 2023 would outperform countries including those of Denmark and the Netherlands,” the Statistical Department emphasised.

Järva County, which accounts for 17% of milk production and 16% of dairy cows in the country, is the leader in terms of productivity, estimated at 11,200 kg per cow per year.

The annual increase in productivity was 486 kg of milk, which is a record for the last 20 years, the analysts indicated. To a large extent, this result was secured by several market leaders. For example, Kaiu LT, a prominent Estonian dairy company, has achieved the average performance of 14,500 kg of milk.

Flourishing trade

Estonia’s dairy industry is not just thriving domestically but also making its mark on the global stage. In 2023, the country exported approximately 211,000 tonnes of raw milk and cream for further processing, solidifying its position as a significant dairy exporter in the region. This robust trade contributes to nearly a quarter of Estonia’s agricultural revenue, with the value of dairy products manufactured in the country reaching €375 million last year.

In 2023, 241,000 tonnes of dairy products were manufactured from raw milk purchased in Estonia, including 104,000 tonnes of drinking milk, 52,000 tonnes of cheese and cottage cheese, 36,000 tonnes of fermented dairy products and 4,600 tonnes of butter, the Statistical Department reported. A significant share of dairy products is also exported, primarily to other countries in the European Union.

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Vladislav Vorotnikov Eastern Europe correspondent
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