Milk production hits 37-year low

Milk supplies could be at risk after milk production reached a 37-year low, NFU Scotland has warned.

Milk production fell to 13.2bn litres between April 2007 and March 2008, according to figures released by the Rural Payments Agency.

The drop of 0.9bn litres on the same period the previous year took UK milk production to its lowest level since 1971.

As cheese and milk consumption has increased by 3% over the past 12 months, NFUS warned milk buyers and processors needed to “wake up” and realise supplies were not guaranteed.

Willie Lamont, NFUS Milk Committee chairman, said shortage of British dairy products was a “real threat” unless steps were taken to encourage increased milk production.

“Dairy farmers are giving up milking cows because to produce milk is, at best, borderline profitable. People are starting to say enough is enough and are leaving the industry.

“If we want to ensure that the UK population can continue to find the fresh milk it needs for its cornflakes and the cheese for its dinner table, then all those involved in the dairy chain must pay dairy farmers a price that allows them to remain in business and invest for the future.

“We are at the real crunch time now – if something isn’t done soon to address the issue then we may all be needing to change what we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”