GB milk production between 11.7bn and 12.0bn litres this year?

Published 19 July 17

Last year, AHDB analysis reinforced sentiment that milk production during the spring associates with overall production for the year. May deliveries in particular were seen to link closely with annual production, likely due to it being the main silage cutting month, which is later used as feed. With May production volumes now confirmed by Defra, how might we expect GB production to develop this year?

Based on May deliveries, AHDB’s mathematical model estimates 2017/18 production to fall between just under 11.7bn and 12.0bn litres. The mid-point of this range, 11.8bn litres, would be on par with production in 2016.

07/17 GB projected deliveries

Source: AHDB Dairy/Defra

While a number of external factors, notably the weather and milk prices, can influence GB milk deliveries, production has fallen within the range predicted by the model in 8 out of the last 10 years. Last year, the range predicted by the model was above the mark. However, this was due to using a provisional May production figure, which was later revised downward. The total 2016/17 production would have been accurately predicted if the actual May production volume had been used. To avoid the same issue this year, AHDB has delayed publishing output from the model until official GB numbers have been available.

Furthermore, last week AHDB’s production tracker was re-based to take account of lower than expected spring deliveries. This tracker projects volumes to the end of the year based on the average week-on-week movements over the last 5 years. The annual estimate for production, based on the revised tracker, is 11.7bn litres. As this is within the range predicted by May production, this adds further confidence to the estimated range.