Dairy farmers produced 1.142bn litres of milk in September – the highest production for the month since at least 1994 and 7.4% above last year, despite tumbling milk prices.

According to provisional data from the RPA, cumulative production for the milk year to date was now at 7.398bn litres – 8% above the same time last year and the highest since 2003. Butterfat levels remained low, at 3.97% for the month and 3.91% cumulatively.

However, RPA figures showed that dairy producers continued to exit the industry, with a net loss of 45 farmers in England and Wales between September and October. At 10,064, there were now 426 fewer producers than the same time last year.

In August, 22 of the 48 milk contracts in DairyCo’s league table recorded price falls, with further cuts tabled for the coming months. The Defra farmgate average fell by 0.37p/litre, to 31.27p/litre – 0.82p/litre below August 2013.

“The Russian ban on imports has impacted on dairy markets around the world,” said the DairyCo report. “Combined with sluggish demand and strong global milk production there are few signs of much relief.”