Farm Ireland

Friday 18 August 2017

UK milk deliveries back almost 10% as price lift fails to stop farmers exiting

The number of dairy farmers in the UK has dropped in recent years.
The number of dairy farmers in the UK has dropped in recent years.
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Despite a recent upturn in milk prices the number of dairy farmers exiting milk production continues to fall

Figures from the UK show that deliveries of milk across the UK are down almost 10% in recent weeks.

The figures from the UK's Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) show that milk deliveries for early September were 35.0m litres/day, 3.8m litres/day (9.8 pc) lower than the same period last year.

According to Patty Clayton a Dairy Analyst with the AHDB, milk supplies since the summer months have been waning as producer numbers drop. "The rate of decline has picked up as we go into the winter and many farmers have had to see if it makes economic sense to keep cows over the winter."

She said that the majority of that 10pc drop is due to their being fewer cows as the herd number has also declined along with declining producer numbers.

"It's no surprise producer numbers have dropped as margins have taken a hammering in the past two years. Prices have now started to move up but they are not at breakeven yet for many farmers.

"The only thing we can say for certainty is that production in the peak spring months of 2017 will not be as high as last spring."

The total number of UK dairy cows has fallen from 2.6m in 1996 to 1.9m in 2015, a 27pc reduction, figures from the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs show, while there are less than 10,000 dairy farmers in England and Wales and approximately 13,000 throughout the UK.

Online Editors