UK milk production showing little sign of slowing

Published 15 January 16

UK milk deliveries in 2015 were around 1.4 billion litres higher than in 2013. This is more than enough extra milk to fill a plant the size of Arla’s Aylesbury site to its annual capacity.

Production is showing little sign of slowing, despite the slump in farmgate prices keeping significant pressure on margins. The annual milk equivalent* dipped slightly in the last two months of 2015, but not enough so far to be taken as a definite sign of a slowdown.

 UK production 15Jan16

A combination of factors appear to be supporting production in the face of low milk prices. UK dairy cow numbers increased 3% in June 2015 compared to the year before and dairy calvings were up 4% year-on-year for January to September.

As well as there being plenty of cows in milk, yields for many have been supported by a good grazing season and good quality silages, according to Kingshay dairy costings and Promar Milkminder. Therefore, some farms have cut down their concentrate usage, but without compromising milk yields, despite lower concentrate prices in 2015.

As a result, winter milk production has remained strong so far, with daily deliveries running nearly 10% above the three-year average as the build-up to the spring flush begins.

 

*AHDB Dairy applies a seasonal adjustment to UK milk production to create an annual equivalent. This allows figures to be compared month-on-month, allowing trends to be spotted earlier than the more traditional rolling 12-month totals.