UK dairy farmers sold 1.06bn litres of milk in August – the third lowest level for the month since 2003.
Poor weather meant dairy cows produced 42.8m litres less than August last year, with cumulative deliveries now standing at 5.82bn litres. That is 62m litres lower than the same time last year, but slightly above the five-year average, without accounting for butterfat content.
Meanwhile, input costs continue to rise, with the Farmers Weekly/NFU Inputs Price Monitor putting red diesel at an average of 67p/litre in August, more than 5p/litre up on the month. Feed prices were also higher, with the average intensive energy ration rising by £4/t to £266/t in August, said DairyCo’s Datum website. That was almost 10% up on the previous year, with high- and medium-energy rations up by just over 11% each. Protein concentrates increased by £4/t between July and August, to £358/t for a high-protein ration.
Anyone seeking to replace dairy cows also had to pay more, with the average price of freshly calved heifers rising by 8% on the year, to £1,665 a head. Freshly calved cows were 0.3% dearer, at £1,385.