Milk production overtook 2012 levels in July

Milk production exceeded last year’s levels for the first time in July, with 1.14bn litres delivered compared with 1.12bn litres last year. In line with the seasonal decline, butterfat levels dropped to 3.81%, well below last year’s 3.94% for the month.

Provisional data from the Rural Payments Agency put cumulative production for the milk year to date at 4.66bn litres – 94m litres behind the same time last year and 18.6m litres below the five-year average. Cumulative butterfat was now 3.91%.

As expected, the UK ended the 2012-13 milk year well below quota for the eighth year running. Wholesale milk deliveries were 2bn litres under quota, at 13bn litres, while direct sales were 27.6m litres under quota at 115m litres.

Dairy farmer numbers continued to decline, with 10,518 producers recorded in England and Wales this month. According to the RPA, the industry had lost a net 22 producers over the past month, with 191 lost over the past year.

Meanwhile, liquid milk sales increased by 1.5% in the year to 7 July, to 5.2bn litres, with the total value of the market rising by 0.6%, to £3.3bn.

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