The weak global dairy market, hit by oversupply and a tail-off in Chinese demand that has driven international milk prices down by around 50 percent, is unlikely to pick up anytime soon, analysts say.
China was one of the world's fastest-growing dairy markets, but consumption there has dried up after earlier high prices cut domestic demand, leaving excess stocks of imported milk powder.
"It might be another six months before it (the outlook) improves," said Susan Kilsby, dairy analyst at NZX Agri, noting there should be a seasonal rise in milk production in the European Union, the United States and China in the spring.
"I don't think it (the rise in production) is going to be massive because prices are so low there isn't that incentive there but ... there will certainly be enough supply to keep prices low, at least until the middle of the year."
China has also seen heavy investment in higher-yielding modern dairy farms with smaller dairy farmers dumping milk and selling cows as demand from processors slows.