Milk producer exodus continues

Almost 500 English and Welsh dairy producers left the industry in the year to August, following the trend of recent years and bringing numbers down by 4.1% to 11,206, according to DairyCo.

This compares with a total of almost 19,000 producers just over eight years ago in April 1992.

Wales saw the largest regional decrease in pure number terms, with a fall of 119 (5.7%) between August 2009 and August this year.

The north west of England still has the largest number of dairy producers at 2420, although even this region saw a 3.2% fall in the year to August. The biggest percentage drop at 6.7% was in the east of England but this is from a very small base.

Across the 27 EU member states, dairy producer numbers fell by more than 14% between 2008 and 2009, to 1.339m compared with 1.561m. Romania, Cyprus, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden saw the biggest reductions in herd numbers.