Agriculturae Conspectus Scientificus, Vol 68, No 2 (2003)

Status of Milk Production and Market in Italy


Pages: 65-69


Aim of this review was to describe the milk production and market in Italy evidencing crucial points both in terms of weakness and strength. The weight of Italian dairy sector in terms of agriculture gross domestic product (GDP) is around the 10%. The cow milk production in Italy is 10.5 million of tons (52% of self- sufficient) and this quota is about the 9% of total amount of milk of EU-15. The Italian dairy herds structure radically change in the last decades and the most important aspects of this change were the progressive concentration and specialization of dairy herds. The number of dairy cows, from 1988 to 2002, are reduced more than 65% and in the same period the average herd size is almost tripled (28.84 cows/herds in 2002). Average milk yield production per cow is 6,010 kg in 2001/02 and it is comparable with other EU countries, but above the levels of other Mediterranean countries.
The peculiarity to Italian milk production is the high quota of fluid milk used for cheese making (68% of total domestic milk yield). The 80% of cheese manufacture is of varieties that are exclusive to the localities from they come and that cannot therefore be made outside those areas (e.g. Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano). A weakness point for Italian dairy industry is due to the structure extremely fragmented with almost 70% of Italian cheese output produced by enterprise handling less than 4,000 tonnes of milk per year. This high fragmentation can be transformed in a competitive element if Italian dairy industries will invest on typical and local dairy products.


milk production; cheese; market

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