GB milk production moves ahead of normal profile

Published 15 November 17

GB milk production has been increasingly edging ahead of year earlier levels in recent months. Following updates to Defra production figures*, GB deliveries during the July-September period are estimated at 2,909m litres, approximately 2% higher than 2016 volumes. AHDB estimates for October show production is continuing to move up, reaching 989m litres during the month, 4% higher than last year.

These developments mean production has increasingly deviated from the tracker**, flattening off at a higher level than if it was following the normal profile for the year. According to Kingshay, overall milk yields in September were 4% higher than last year, with the rise driven by concentrate feeding. In fact, yields from forage were recorded at 4% lower than last year. Increased use of feed, encouraged by improvements to producer profitability this year, is therefore bolstering production. Between July and September 2017, GB production of dairy compound and blend feeds was 5% above the five-year average for the period.

June Tracker

As a result of the higher level of GB deliveries, the AHDB tracker has been rebased***, taking account of summer production volumes, and will enable us to determine whether production is following the usual trend moving forward.

October Tracker

While not a forecast, if production were to follow the tracker profile for the rest of the 2017/18 season, GB milk deliveries would total just over 12bn litres. This is approximately 2% higher than the 2016/17 milk year. As such, based on current developments, overall production for 2017/18 would end at the top of the estimated range based on May production, published earlier this year.

 *Note Defra figures for August are still under investigation and AHDB has therefore used an estimate of 973m litres, from daily deliveries. This is subject to change

**AHDB tracker is based on average week-on-week movements for the past five years, applied to production in the middle of June 2017

***AHDB tracker is based on average week-on-week movements for the past five years, applied to production in the middle of October 2017