2010 world dairy market prices recovered from lows caused by the world financial crisis the year before, according to a new report from the US-based International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA).
In Dairy Facts 2011, the IDFA provided its annual comprehensive overview of the $110bn (€ 85bn) US dairy industry, including sales, consumption and production data.
And taking the sector's international pulse, the authors noted that world butter prices set record highs in 2010, with an average price per metric tonne in Europe of $4,617 (35.7 per cent higher than 2009).
Prices for butter were also up significantly in Oceania at $4,045 per tonne, a staggering 72.3 per cent increase on 2009.
"World prices for skim powder, cheddar cheese and whey powder were all much higher in 2010 than in 2009. These strong world dairy market prices continued into 2011," the authors wrote.
Assessing US export success in 2010, they also noted that trade in dairy products increased by 38.9 per cent in volumes, while higher world dairy market prices contributed to a 65.1 per cent lift in dairy export value in 2010 compared with the previous year.
"Every category of dairy products saw an increase in both dollar sales and volume, except for fluid whey products and casein products," according to the IDFA.
Leading US dairy product exports by value included non-fat dry milk (export sales topped $1bn), cheeses ($700m) and whey products ($600m).
But the IDFA said that other categories such as condensed and evaporated milk, dry whole milk and cream and butter products all experienced significant export growth in 2010.
The report authors noted that in 2010, US exports accounted for over 25 per cent of world trade in skim milk powder, 8.7 per cent of the world's butter trade and 7 per cent of its cheese.
Conversely, US dairy imports slumped by 7.7 per cent in 2010, with cheese (the product category with the highest dairy import value) falling 14.4 per cent by volume and 3.7 per cent in value.