A STUDY into the future of milk processing in Cumbria – now a major producer yielding 800m litres a year – has shown that 60% of milk supplies are being transported out of the county.

Rural Regeneration Cumbria and First Milk jointly commissioned the study which concludes that the likely shift of milk production from eastern to western regions of the UK presents “future opportunities for Cumbria to develop premium, added-value and sustainable processing capacity”.

The study recommends better use should be made of existing milk processing plants in the short term.

It also suggests an evaluation of existing facilities in terms of employing new technology and production techniques, investigating new markets and the development of a strong brand image for the county‘s milk and milk products.

But David Young, commercial director of First Milk added a word of caution: “Cumbria is a very important milk producing area to our business and we are actively researching sustainable and commercially viable opportunities within the county.

“But it is important to stress that planning and developing new processing opportunities requires considerable risk assessment and must be properly thought through.”