Oversupply of dairy across Europe and falling prices have heralded a return of the EU butter mountain.

When prices fall below a certain point, the European Union steps in and buys up surplus butter for a minimum price, leading to huge excess stocks.

Earlier this year the EU agreed to purchase 30,000 tonnes of butter to support prices but has already bought more than twice that and forecasts a stockpile of more than 100,000 tonnes by February.

The EU has also acquired more than 200,000 tonnes of skimmed milk powder, after initially agreeing to buy half that amount.

Two years ago, the EU cleared the butter mountain after 39 years and a year before that had emptied its warehouses of milk powder. At its peak in 1986 the butter mountain was 1.2 million tonnes.

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