9 August 2002

July milk output record breaker, RPA data shows

By Olivia Cooper

MILK production for July was the highest since UK quota records began in 1994, making it the third record-breaking month this season, according to provisional figures from the Rural Payments Agency.

Quota traders were surprised at the hike to 1.28bn litres, as it was 66m litres ahead of Junes production and 90m litres over July 2001. "That is a real surprise," said WebbPatons George Paton. "While were producing this volume of milk I just wonder what the milk price is going to do."

Butterfat continues to fall, with the month at a record low of 3.85%. This takes the butterfat-adjusted production to about 1.29bn litres – 90m litres over the Charles Holt/farmers weekly profile.

But there is a large margin for error relating to the figures, as five buyers failed to submit their returns to the RPA. The agency, therefore, had to estimate about 7% of total deliveries.

"We have seen that before and the figures have changed dramatically afterwards," said Mr Paton. "Nevertheless, we look like we are going to reach quota and people should seriously be considering coming into the market-place."

But quota trade has been quiet recently and Mr Paton reckons it is likely to remain steady until later in the year. "I dont think the figures will have any effect until we get a milk price rise."

Leasing of 4% butterfat quota has eased by about 0.1p/litre, to about 2.4p, while sales are very quiet at about 17p/litre. &#42