UK milk production increased slightly last month to 1198.2m litres, although production has started to fall behind last season, according to provisional Rural Payments Agency figures.

UK wholesale milk deliveries during May were 54.5m litres (5%) higher than April, but 27.5m litres (2%) less than May 2008. On a cumulative basis production for the 2009/10 milk year stands at 2,342m litres, compared with 2,365.1m litres last year.

DairyCo said UK milk deliveries had fallen consecutively for the last five years and the current total was the lowest in the UK since the 1971/72 milk year.

The situation in Northern Ireland made similarly gloomy reading. Northern Ireland milk deliveries to dairies in May were 16m litres (8.1%) below the same period in 2008, at 182m litres. DairyCo said the greater fall in Northern Ireland milk production compared with Great Britain could in part be due to the differential in farmgate prices between Northern Ireland and GB.

DairyCo Datum has recently published two documents exploring the current milk supply situation and the factors that affect a sustainable dairy supply chain: