MILK DELIVERIES continued to fall in the month of October, despite butterfat content for the month soaring to 4.16%, a level not seen since 1997.

Butterfat-adjusted deliveries in October for our Charles Holt/farmers weekly profile stood at 1086.9m litres, nearly 11m litres short of quota profile, producing a cumulative deficit for the milk year so far of 195.7m litres.

Exeter-based quota broker Townsend predicts that quota will fall to 13p/litre. Latest prices put unused 4% quota on sale at 14.2p/litre and for lease at 7.9p/litre. Prices should stabilise, said the company, because of the investment value of quota for future single farm payment claims.

The milk delivery figures have fuelled speculation that the UK may no longer have enough dairy cattle. But Charles Holt of the Farm Consultancy Group said: “There are enough cows, because they achieved quota last year. The over 30-month scheme figures are up on last year, but well below 2002 levels, at 553,000 to date. Farmers are only getting rid of the grotty cows. It doesn’t mean we are going to see milk production crash next year.”