Wales milk survey prompts strategy rethink

Almost half the milk produced in Wales is processed outside the country, a study has revealed.

The report, which maps out the dairy processing sector in Wales, shows that 49% of milk – about 708m litres – is hauled to England. But 190m of these litres are transported back to be sold as branded “Welsh” milk.

Promar International carried out the study on behalf of DairyCo with input from the Welsh government. It is the first comprehensive analysis of the Welsh dairy industry since 2006.

Although Wales exports large volumes of milk, it is an importer too. The study showed that 130 million litres from farms in England are processed in Wales. Smaller volumes of other dairy products including butter, whey and cheese are also imported for further processing or packing.

Most of the milk processed in Wales is converted into cheese – the country produces over 80,000t which represents almost 90% of the milk processed in Wales. Liquid milk represents just over 6% of all milk processed in Wales, while yoghurt, clotted cream, ice cream, butter and other dairy products account for the remaining 4%.

Delyth Davies, DairyCo’s head of dairy development Wales, said the report would provide the private and public sectors with information needed to develop future strategies, policies and programmes. The study was conducted as part of the ‘Improving the Welsh Dairy Supply Chain’ project.

Welsh government deputy minister for agriculture Alun Davies believes that improving the Welsh dairy supply chain is a vital piece of work for the dairy industry. The study, he added, would inform the action that needed to be taken for developing a sustainable supply chain for Welsh milk.

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