Drop in England and Wales milk producer numbers

Published 12 December 18

Latest data from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) shows another drop in milk producer numbers in December, in addition to the drop in November.

 Dairy producers

The last two months show 83 producers leaving* the industry, a significant increase on the exit rate compared with previous months. Since mid-2016, there has been a steady slowing in the annual rate of exit from the industry. For most of 2018 the annual exit rate had slowed even further, but the latest two months bring the rate back up to those seen mid-2016. This suggests that this could be the start of an increased rate of exit from the industry.

It is possible that this loss of milk producers comes as a knock-on impact of the adverse weather conditions experienced earlier this year resulting in lack of feed availability and possible compromised reproductive performance.

Since 1970 there has been a steady decline in the number of milk producers. However, the trend to larger herd sizes and increasing average yield per cow has maintained a relatively steady total milk output. The future shape of the industry and the impact of Brexit and other influencing factors remains to be fully realised.



*It must be taken into account that Food Standards Agency figures represent the number processed forms received each month. Due to time lags in processing the forms or time lags in farmers informing the Food Standards Agency that they have stopped producing, these figures may not provide an exact representation of the number of farmers that have ceased producing milk in a particular month.