01 December 1998
Dairy men&146;s exodus threatens rural economy

By Tim Relf

RURAL areas are under threat from the wholesale departure of dairy farmers who are leaving the industry.

The annual retirement rate has doubled to 6% in the last year, Milk Marque chairman Poul Christensen told delegates at a Farmer Forum debate at the Smithfield Show.

“You have to be concerned for large chunks of this country where milk is the mainstay of the rural economy and the cornerstone of the rural infrastructure,” he said

Current figures suggest that average net margins per cow of have fallen to £40. The figure is equivalent to £3200 for an 80-cow herd.