MILK PRODUCTION in May was the lowest on record, according to provisional figures from the Rural Payments Agency.

The UK produced 1.28bn litres of milk last month – 84.1m litres less than May last year, which was a record high at 1.37bn litres.

Cumulatively, dairy farmers have milked 2.49bn litres so far this season – 5% less than the same time in 2003 and 66m litres below the five-year average.

Butterfat was 3.83% for the month, bringing cumulative butterfat to 3.91%, compared with 3.86% at the same time last year.

“These production figures look very low,” said Charles Holt of the Farm Consultancy Group.

“The price of quota is now more driven by the dairy premium than production but these figures are likely to tweak values down a bit further.”

Quota sales had plateaued at about 15.5-16p/litre, he said. “A lot more quota has come onto the market in the past three or four days.”

Leasing prices had also peaked, at about 9-9.5p/litre, before easing to 8.75p/litre for a 4% butterfat, he added.

“It‘s just come off the boil a bit – prices had risen very sharply for this time of year.”