MILK DELIVERIES continued to fall in the month of October, while butterfat content soared to levels not seen since 1997.

Butterfat adjusted deliveries in October stood at 1086.9m litres, despite an average butterfat level of 4.16%.

The adjusted figure falls nearly 11m litres short of the quota profile, raising the total deficit in milk deliveries to 195.7m litres so far this milk year.

The adjusted total for September was 1089.5m litres.

Townsend Chartered Surveyors predict that quota will start to come back onto the market at the low prices seen towards the start of the year (13ppl).

Prices should stabilise, according to the company, because of the investment value of quota for future single farm payment claims.

The milk delivery figures have fuelled speculation that the UK may no longer have sufficient dairy cattle to fulfil its quota.

But Charles Holt of the Farm Consultancy Group said that missing quota this year did not mean the national dairy herd was too small.

“There are enough cows, because they achieved quota last year,” he said.

“Even if the Over Thirty Month Scheme figures do go up a lot, farmers are only getting rid of the grotty cows. It doesn‘t mean we’re going to see milk production crash next year.”