Estimated typical milk production costs for Great Britain

Published 30 March 19

Estimated typical costs for the 12 months ending March-2019                                                 

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: 31 August 2019                                               

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 figures used in updating the estimated costs of production are based on the aggregation of those presented in the AHDB Dairy Performance Results 2017/18 report.  

Coming soon! Estimated costs of production by calving pattern based on Dairy Performance Results 2018/19.

Pence per litre Top 25% Bottom 25%
Herd Replacement Cost 2.7 4.8
Total Variable Costs 12.8 15.0
Cash Only Overheads 8.9 12.2
Total Cash Costs of Production 24.3 32.0
Total Overhead Costs 11.2 16.8
Total Costs of Production 26.7 36.6
% change in CoP compared with 2017/18 4.2 3.9


£ per cow Top 25% Bottom 25%
Herd Replacement Cost 217 339
Total Variable Costs 1,027 1,056
Cash Only Overheads 715 859
Total Cash Costs of Production 1,959 2,254
Total Overheads Costs 901 1,185
Total Costs of Production 2,145 2,580
% change in CoP compared with 2017/18 4.7 6.0


£ per hectare Top 25% Bottom 25%
Herd Replacement Cost 437 596
Total Variable Costs 2,071 1,854
Cash Only Overheads 1,441 1,510
Total Cash Costs of Production 3,948 3,960
Total Overhead Costs 1,816 2,082
Total Costs of Production 4,323 4,532
% change in CoP compared with 2017/18 2.2 2.0

 Key trends compared with 2017/18

  • Milk yields have increased marginally by 0.5%.
  • Replacement heifer prices in the markets have increased by around 1%, on average, since October 2018. Meanwhile, cull cow prices have also continued to fall. The overall result of these prices changes is a 5.6% increase in estimated herd replacement costs compared to March 2018.
  • Collated monthly figures show a 1.9% increase in concentrate usage since March 2018. This is alongside the background of concentrate prices continuing to increase compared with last year. Overall, on a ppl basis, this results in a 8% increase in purchased concentrate costs.
  • Other notable trends, compared with March 2018, have been the increased costs for bedding, fertiliser and fuel. Also, there have seen increases in the price of seeds and crop sprays.









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.