MILK PRODUCTION for November came in at 5.7m litres below quota, bringing the deficit for the year to date to 195m litres.

Butterfat-adjusted production came to 1055m litres in November.

Quota broker Charles Holt of the Farm Consultancy, said: “The chances of reaching quota this milk year are now virtually nil.

“It is a good time for anyone that does want to push on and produce as much as they can to buy up cows.”

He predicted that cow prices would remain firm as some dairy farmers moved to increase output by buying up herds being dispersed as others left the industry.

But Ian Potter, another quota broker, said that the mood of the industry was too low for chasing production hikes by buying extra cows or giving them a third milking.

“There‘s no enthusiasm to do that at all, because the milk price keeps getting cut. Never before have I found dairy farmers so despondent,” he said.

The only reaction to the production figures would be to encourage more English dairy farmers to lease out quota, Mr Potter added.

There would be little effect on quota prices, he thought.