DAIRY FARMERS must knuckle down and plan for the future according to John Sumner, policy adviser for the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers.

Mr Sumner said that farmers who got a grip on their costs, tailored their production to market demand and cooperated with other farmers were the most likely to survive.

Speaking at a farmers weekly Farmer Forum Mr Sumner said that in 10 years” time there would be under 15,000 dairy farmers in the UK.

And, he told the forum that most of the milk produced in the country would come from fewer than 10,000 of these producers.

The number of dairy farmers has dropped from 125,000 in 1965 to 22,500 this year and the future will see fewer, but larger dairy farms, he predicted.

To grab the opportunities to survive and thrive dairy farmers must first of all get a grip on their businesses and their costs, he said.

“Our survey at this year”s Dairy Event showed that 60% of dairy farmers don”t know their cost of production.

“How can you run a business and plan ahead without knowing that?” Mr Sumner said.

“There is no White Knight out there who will come to your rescue. The future of dairy farming is in farmers” own hands,” Mr Sumner said.