Milk production up by 20pc as farmers make the most of autumn weather
Dairy farmers made the most of high prices and fair weather increasing milk production in October by over 20pc.
The staggering increase saw domestic milk intake by creameries and pasteurisers estimated at 642.4m litres in October.
This was 20.2pc above the corresponding 2017 figure , according to latest data from the CSO.
The sharp recovery in supplies through the back end has totally changed the outlook for the year, with suggestions during the summer drought of a 1-2pc fall in milk output for 2018. However, this has now given way to projections of a 2pc growth in output.
Given that national milk supplies last year totalled 7.27 billion litres, a 2pc lift in production equates to an additional 150m litres.
Excellent grazing conditions and high milk prices are the main reasons behind the surge in milk production.
Through October and into November dairy herds remained out day and night across much of the south and west, with good dry matter and energy in the grass.
The unusually high quality of grass saw milk solids at very high levels, with fat at around 5pc and protein at 4pc. This has resulted in milk prices of 40-42c/l including bonuses for many farmers.