Welsh milk surplus set to reach 1 billion litres per year

Published 15 October 19

Milk processing capability in Wales has fallen, leading to an increase in milk transported to England for processing.

Welsh milk production is estimated to have reached 1,971m litres in 2018/19, an increase of 123m litres (7%) since 2016/17. Up until now, the continual investment and expansion of a few larger processing sites has allowed all this extra milk to be processed in the country.

However, current capacity is now estimated at just 956m litres per year, driven in part by the recent end of milk collections into Tomlinson’s Dairy and the mothballing of Arla’s LLandyrnog site at the end of 2018

A modest increase in milk production between now and next year, would leave the Welsh milk surplus at 1,055m litres per year, more than half the amount collected off farms.

One glimmer of hope is the potential opening of a new cheese factory in north Wales in the coming year, but that may only be enough to partially offset recent processing losses.

 Welsh milk production v processed


We estimate Welsh milk production using milking herd numbers and an estimate of yields. The milking herd in Wales grew to 254K head in 2018, a 3K head year on year increase. The increase in the size of milking herd, alongside an increase in average milk yield per cow has led to the continued growth in production.

Chris Gooderham