By FWi staff

MILK production in September slipped below profile again, according to provisional Intervention Board figures.

Producers delivered 1.074 billion butterfat-adjusted litres to processors during the month, almost 25m litres, or 2.25%, under quota.

At the halfway point of the current milk year, the cumulative shortfall runs to almost 170m litres, well over four days supply. Output has been below quota for five of the past six months.

Whether that stays the case remains to be seen.

Cows are being fed stemmy grass silage, which is raising butterfat (up from 3.92% in August to 4.05% in September) and therefore the volume of adjusted litres, and maize silage now being harvested, will boost November production, suspects Peter Weston Davies of the farm Consultancy Group.

quota link Bruton Knowles

“Will that be too late for the UK to meet quota? You tell me.”

Quota prices remain static, at about 1p a butterfat % for leasing and about 23ppl for 4% sales. “Sales prices went up when the banks realised it was a good buy and started lending money to farmers.

“I suspect it will come down again – if I was a farmer I would put my chequebook behind the clock and leave it there for a while.”

The drop in production is likely to be due to wet conditions in September, bringing cows in to be fed on poor-quality silage, explains Jonathan Smith from Bruton Knowles.

“It looks more and more unlikely that the UK will reach quota – although it is still feasible,” he says.