Dairy farmers finished the year on the same low note as they started it, with milk deliveries well below the Charles Holt/Farmers Weekly profile.

At 1.203bn butterfat-adjusted litres, output in March fell 14m litres behind profile and brought the year’s shortfall to 323m litres – or nearly 2.5%.

It means that British dairy farmers turned in 13.723bn litres last milk year against an average of more than 14bn litres.

Charles Holt of the Farm Consultancy Group said output had failed to recover after the long winter and predicted low production in April as well.

“People are having to buy in silage, which is never as good as your own.

“The important thing will be to see the quality of the maize and the first cut of silage that comes off in May.”

There was a small flurry of interest in milk quota in the closing weeks of March, he said, but it was still poor compared with previous years.

Even into the new milk year, prices have remained at rock bottom: Average butterfat quota was let for 0.50p/litre and sold for around 4.5p/litre.

Quota trader Jonathan Smith at BK said that sales had been slow with buyers sticking out for 4p/litre and vendors optimistic and looking for 5p/litre.