Despite difficult market conditions in many parts of the world, DeLaval was able to introduce new solutions in 2015, increase market shares and take the lead in many new developments in the dairy industry.
Net sales of €1,025 million in prevailing currencies were up somewhat on the previous year. We also have a positive view on the year in light of the particularly challenging conditions facing the dairy industry. Our global presence greatly benefitted us in 2015. We were able to excel in markets such as North America and Asia, counteracting the difficulties facing Europe and crisis-struck countries such as Brazil and Russia. Low milk prices and continued political tensions between the EU and Russia have had an impact on European dairy and agriculture vendors, including DeLaval. Additionally, we see that farmers are struggling with the new Common Agricultural Policy and coming to terms with the lifting of milk quotas. At the same time, we at DeLaval maintained market share in Europe and moved into the number one brand position in Germany during the year, according to the German DLG brand barometer.
We launched several new innovations during the year to underscore our position as technology leader in the dairy industry. DeLaval body condition scoring BCS was launched early in the year, providing the world’s first commercially available system for automatic body condition scoring. Farmers using the system can receive daily updates on the body condition score of every animal in their herd, providing a great deal of new data to help them manage and analyse the herd.
DeLaval BCS won several awards in 2015 including winning a 2015 World Ag Expo Top 10 Product Award as well as a Dairy Herd Management Innovative Product Award. DeLaval teat spray robot TSR was also a winner at these awards and proof again that our innovative approach is paving the way for new technologies that help farmers.
All our innovations are aimed at making productivity and efficiency gains by improving the health, well-being and performance of the herd. 2015 also saw the introduction of sustainable innovations in the form of prepost and barrier teat dips such as Ocean-Blu™, a premium non-iodine dip for year round use. It features GlyTec™ technology, which is based on glycolic acid, a natural milk component. Our strategy has been to spend the considerable time necessary to achieve all the permits required to produce scientifically-based aftermarket products, and this strategy has helped accentuate our premium position in the market.
Our focus on Research and Development and innovation will continue in 2016. We will see the market launch of new innovative products such as the calf-care product Feedtech™ Carbogel and EasyStride™, an environmentally friendly hoof care solution that is free from both copper sulphate and formaldehyde, which reduces the chemical exposure for both the producer and the cows.
Our vision of making sustainable food production possible continues to lead us as we develop new solutions for our customers. By providing new solutions that can help farmers do more with less, we are able to improve their productivity and help them practise more sustainable farming methods. Many of the examples above clearly indicate that our vision is the right one and is helping us shape the dairy industry.
Our new developments in data collection and analysis show us that the future trends towards precision dairy farming will allow us to continue to find new breakthroughs in more sustainable farming methods. We are looking at the entire dairy process from milking and feeding to effluent management. We are collecting data on not just milking yields and somatic cell counts but cow behaviour and movement on a farm.
Internally, we continue to look at more sustainable operations. In 2015 we completed ISO14001 and ISO 9001 certification of all our factories in Europe and China. In the Americas and in Oceania we are considering different options for formalising the management systems already in place. We continue to work on reducing energy usage and phasing out our chemicals according to our Restricted Substances List.
Our decision to stay close to the customer has also been a benefit to us in a year of turbulent markets. In China, we see that we are, by far, the market leader in the large farm segment. At the same time, our factories in Tianjin are delivering according to plan and our operations on the ground keep us close to the customer.
China is witnessing a significant transition from small herds and village milking centres to large mega farms. We have further cemented strong and positive relations in China with our participation in educational initiatives such as the five-year agreement we together with Tetra Pak have signed with the Dairy Association of China. This educational programme has been ongoing since the mid 80s. We have committed ourselves to continue providing training to Chinese dairy farm managers and help them improve farming efficiency, increase product quality and enhance standards of animal welfare.
The challenges that faced the dairy industry in 2015 are likely to continue into 2016. It is being hampered by introduction of new policies in the EU, sanctions between Russia and EU and lower imports into China. But the global demand for dairy products remains on the rise and we are proud to be working in an industry that provides foods rich in nutritional value that can benefit so many people around the globe. As the world population grows, we see dairy products playing an important role in the sustainable mix of nutritional foods available. We are grateful that our staff and customers share this same commitment as we work towards a sustainable and prosperous future.
"Our new developments in data collection and analysis show us that the future trends towards precision dairy farming will allow us to continue to find new breakthroughs in more sustainable farming methods. We are looking at the entire dairy process from milking and feeding to effluent management. We are collecting data on not just milking yields and somatic cell counts but cow behaviour and movement on a farm.”