Global dairy prices plunged at the recent bi-monthly auction, down by 8.6 per cent.
The average price for whole milk powder, which accounted for more than half the auction volume, fell 6.5 per cent to a four-month low of $3916 US per tonne, the biggest drop since March last year.
Skim milk powder fell 6.5 per cent to $4130 US per tonne, anhydrous milkfat dropped 12.1 per cent to $6008 US per toinne, butter dropped 12.5 per cent to $5807 US per tonne, cheddar cheese by 8.6 per cent to $5652 US per tonne and buttermilk powder dropped for the first time since November, down 6.1 per cent to $4203 US per tonne.
The decline was the sharpest in seven years.
The global auction prices have a heavy influence on what Fonterra pays New Zealand farmers and that, in turn, is considered the global milk pricing benchmark.