Estimated typical milk production costs for Great Britain

Published 25 July 18

Estimated typical costs for the 12 months ending May-2018                                                 

These figures aim to provide an up to date 12 month rolling estimation of typical costs of milk production for GB. They are based on actual historical figures which are then adjusted using changes in milk yields, concentrate usage and input prices. These figures are indicative of change and not aimed at giving absolute values. Figures are up dated every three months.  Next update: 30 October 2018                                                

Notes for interpretation:                                                                          

  • Top and bottom 25% ranked on Net Margin after Total Full Economic Costs of Production.                                                                    
  • Cash Only Fixed Costs exclude unpaid family labour and depreciation and include actual rent and finance costs.                                                               
  • Full Economic Fixed Costs include value of unpaid family labour, depreciation, rental value of owner occupied land and imputed finance costs.        

The 2016/17 figures used in updating the estimated costs of production can be found in the AHDB Dairy Performance Results report.

Coming soon! Estimated costs of production by calving pattern type based on the figures presented in the Dairy Performance Results 2016/17 report.

Pence per litre Top 25% Bottom 25%
Herd Replacement Cost 2.7 4.3
Total Variable Costs 12.5 14.2
Cash Only Overheads 7.7 11.6
Total Cash Costs of Production 22.9 30.0
Total Overhead Costs 10.3 16.0
Total Costs of Production 25.5 34.5
% change in CoP compared with 2016/17 4.0 3.1


£ per cow Top 25% Bottom 25%
Herd Replacement Cost 223 296
Total Variable Costs 1,038 986
Cash Only Overheads 636 804
Total Cash Costs of Production 1,898 2,087
Total Overheads Costs 854 1,111
Total Costs of Production 2,116 2,394
% change in CoP compared with 2016/17 6.0 7.0


£ per hectare Top 25% Bottom 25%
Herd Replacement Cost 402 529
Total Variable Costs 1,873 1,761
Cash Only Overheads 1,148 1,435
Total Cash Costs of Production 3,422 3,725
Total Overhead Costs 1,541 1,984
Total Costs of Production 3,816 4,274
% change in CoP compared with 2016/17 3.0 0

 Key trends compared with 2016/17

  • Milk yields have increased slightly by 1.9%.
  • Replacement heifer prices in the markets have increased by around 8%, on average, since March 2017. Meanwhile, cull cow prices have also continued to rise. The overall result of these prices changes is a 1.5% increase in estimated herd replacement costs compared to March 2017.
  • Collated monthly figures show a 4.9% increase in concentrate usage since March 2017. This is alongside the background of concentrate prices continuing to increase compared with last year. Overall, on a ppl basis, this results in a 12% increase in purchased concentrate costs.
  • Other notable trends, compared with March 2017, have been the increased costs for bedding, fertiliser and fuel. Also, there have seen increases in the price of seeds and crop sprays.


Cost tracker

The historical base data is from 350 farms in Great Britain collected by Promar International and its contributing partners. The base data is a stratified sample to represent the range of dairy systems found in GB. To estimate the up to date rolling 12 month costs of production, milk yield and purchased concentrate data supplied to AHDB by Promar Milkminder and Kingshay are used along side input price indices published by DEFRA and market information from AHDB.