Market indicators

Updated 24 May 2024

The Actual Milk Price Equivalent (AMPE), Milk for Cheese Value Equivalent (MCVE) and Milk Market Value (MMV) provide general estimates on market returns and the current market value of milk. They are based on UK wholesale price movements and can be used to identify general market price trends. They are updated on a monthly basis.


  • AMPE (Actual Milk Price Equivalent) is an indicator of the factory gate value of a litre of milk used for butter and skimmed milk powder
  • MCVE (Milk for Cheese Value Equivalent) is an indicator of the factory gate value of a litre of milk used for mild Cheddar and whey powder/butter.

  • MMV (Milk Market Value) is an indicator of the average market value of a litre of milk based on typical utilisation of milk in the UK.
    Movements in the MMV correlate strongly with changes in farmgate milk prices in 3 months’ time.

Production costs have been adjusted in April 2024 using quarterly data on manufacturing costs for Q4 2023. 

As the data for these adjustments is always in arrears, AMPE and MCVE can only estimate actual market returns.

Find out more about our latest costs update

Additional information

The AMPE and MCVE calculations were revised from August 2020 to take into account higher milk compositional quality, higher production costs and varying lactose powder prices. A summary of the changes is available to download below.

The production costs for AMPE and MCVE were updated in April 2024 to take into consideration inflationary increases up to and including Q4 2023. These include costs related to labour and energy.

The next update on production costs will take place following publication of the ONS quarterly manufacturing cost indexes for Q1 2024 (due for release end of July 2024).

Please note that AMPE and MCVE calculations do not include the cost of transport of milk to the dairy.

According to a 2014 survey of members of Dairy UK, the range of transport costs that can be encountered in the UK dairy industry are from 0.9ppl to 4.8ppl. The lower limit typically applies to purchasers with compact milk fields with larger farmers, while purchasers with geographically dispersed milk fields and smaller, less accessible farmers pay up to 2.4ppl on average. For some individual collection routes that involve reloading costs, transport costs can be as high as 4.8ppl.

Please note the published values for whey powder have been adjusted between February 2023 and January 2024 due to a revision in the EU product values. MCVE and MMV have been adjusted accordingly.  There is no change to AMPE.

AMPE and MCVE calculator

Projected farmgate milk price changes

Latest UK wholesale prices

MCVE calculations for selected EU countries

Summary of changes to dairy market indicators (2020)

Dairy market indicators review (2014)

Download dataset

Market indicators (AMPE, MCVE, MMV)

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