6 September 2000

THE number of dairy farmers looking to quit the sector is three times higher than in recent years, but for every one looking to get out three others are hoping to increase milk production, a new survey has revealed.

The survey of over 2200 dairy farming customers of feed manufacturer and supplier ABN this spring suggested about 8-10% of the 1700 farms which completed questionnaires were looking to get out, according to ABNs ruminant managing director Tim Wilson.

Many will go before winter feeding starts, he told journalists in London today (Sept 6).

The majority of leavers will come from the smaller herds – 15% of herds with under 49 cows intend to quit while 50% of herds with over 200 cows expect to increase production.

But the UK will very close to quota this year, said Mr Wilson. Those staying in milk intend to boost production by 200 litres/cow, although 500 litres would have to be achieved to cover the shortfall from leavers.