Milk production has passed its seasonal peak three weeks earlier than last year, and is already declining, according to provisional figures from DEFRA.
In the two weeks to 21 May, UK deliveries averaged 39.9 million litres a day – a drop of 1.2m litres a day compared with the first week in May.
“We can now say that production has peaked for the 2011/12 milk year,” says a report by DairyCo. Although the UK peak was 1.1% higher than last year, the GB peak was 0.2% down.
“In contrast to the previous milk year, figures suggest that deliveries are already beginning to decrease seasonally and not remain at higher levels. One possible reason for this has been the variability of grass growth, with some areas affected by drought.”
Interest will now focus on how deliveries continue into the summer. “While increasing feed prices continue to be prominent, with feed wheat prices at £200/t and looking to continue to do so into the autumn, some dairy farmers will need to look at management of grassland.”