Auctioneers have reported a sharp rise in the number of milk producers looking to sell up since the Dairy Farmers of Britain crisis began last week.
“This has been the final push for some,” said auctioneer Jeremy Eaton of Craven Cattle Mart, North Yorkshire.
“We already have 120 cattle booked in to sell on one farm and enquiries from several other farmers, with about 60 or 70 cows since last Friday (5 June).”
Most enquiries were coming from small dairy farms in upland areas, he said.
The same was happening in Cumbria, with many farmers weighing up their options. Six producers near Carlisle and Northumberland had decided to sell up since Friday, said Harrison and Hetheringtons‘ Glyn Lucas.
“The farms have about 20-30 cows, but we have also had some bigger producers enquiring, too,” he added. “Many are weighing up their options and deciding where to go next.”
Mr Lucas said the exit from dairying would continue over the next few months, as people who had signed up to poorer contracts decided to leave.
In Gloucestershire, Norton & Brooksbank auctioneer Tom Brooksbank said he had received interest from several farmers.
“We’ve had plenty of enquiries, particularly considering the good cow prices at the moment.”