UK milk production is nearly 4m litres/day lower than it was a year ago, according to latest figures from AHDB.
UK daily deliveries for the two weeks ending 2 July averaged 38.9m litres/day, which is 3.9m litres/day (9.2%) lower than the same period last year.
Daily deliveries for this period were 1.8m (4.4%) lower compared with the three-year average.
Over the same period, GB daily deliveries averaged 32.4m litres/day and were down 3.4m litres/day (9.6% ) on the previous year.
Daily deliveries for this period were 1.7m litres/day (5%) lower compared with the three-year average.
AHDB Dairy said the figures showed GB milk deliveries had “fallen off a cliff”.
See also: Read Farmers Weekly‘s latest milk price articles
Reasons for drop
It pointed towards a combination of poor grass quality, due to erratic weather, and a reduction in supplementary feeding as farmers sought to cut costs.
“On a positive side, the drop in production could improve the balance between supply and demand sooner than expected and provide support to prices.
“However, any significant change to feeding has the potential to lead to fertility issues, which could impact production for the remainder of this and most of next year,” it warned.
The news that production is significantly down on 2015-16 levels will raise UK farmers’ hopes that the small farmgate price increases that have started to feed though will continue.
However, while there are signs that the market is improving, the European Milk Board (EMB) has warned there is a little end in sight for the problems facing farmers and the situation across Europe is still like a “horror movie”.
German, Danish and Dutch farmers were all facing a gap between the costs of production and the price they were paid for their milk, said the EMB. The situation was similar across other many countries.
Romuald Schaber, EMB president, said to bring prices to a fair level, the volume of milk on the market had to be reduced.
In April 2016, 13.1bn litres of milk were delivered to dairies in the EU-28, an increase of 208m litres (1.6%) on April 2015.