DairyCo Farmer Intentions Survey 2011

The 2011 DairyCo Farmer Intentions Survey shows that there has been a slight dip in GB dairy farmer confidence, with 13% planning to leave the industry in the next two years, compared to 9% in the 2010 survey.

Milk prices and input costs were the greatest concerns to GB dairy farmers, but the survey showed some less expected statistics about milk contracts.  "In this year's survey we questioned dairy farmers about their opinion of their milk contracts, to get an understanding of how this may influence their future intentions," says Matt. "Only a small percentage of dairy farmers cited milk buyer contracts as a major threat or challenge. A majority of farmers, 54%, were happy with their contract, although 56% highlighted milk price as a major concern.  This may indicate that dairy farmers do not connect milk price and contracts as interrelated issues."

"There are also some interesting characteristics when looking at industry expanders. Those farmers seeking to increase production differ in their characteristics compared to the total industry sample."

For instance, expanding farmers are more likely to:

  • Be in younger age groups: 69% of those under the age of 30 are intending to increase production, compared to 23% of over 60s.
  • Have a successor: 73% of those farmers intending to increase have a successor.
  • Have a solely dairy enterprise: 71% of those farmers intending to expand have a solely dairy enterprise compared to 29% of mixed farmers.

The overall picture is less positive, with just over 50% of dairy farmers expected to maintain their production at current levels over the next two years; the survey estimates that GB milk production could fall by up to 4% within the next two years.  However, results from previous surveys show that the actual effects on production has often been less than predicted. 

Only 6% of GB farmers surveyed in 2011 plan to invest more than £250,000 over the next five years.  This represents a three percentage point drop on last year. 

"With 13% of farmers intending to leave the industry, there is a concern that GB will stand to lose milk production capacity if there is not sufficient investment," says senior analyst Matt Johnson.

downloaded the Farmer Intentions Survey.



For further information

N:        Amanda Ball
T:         02476 478691
E:         amanda.ball@dairyco.ahdb.org.uk
W:        www.dairyco.org.uk

Editors Notes:

The 2011 Farmer Intentions Survey was carried out in April 2011 with over 1200 UK Dairy farmers interviewed.


DairyCo's aim is to promote world class knowledge to British dairy farmers so they can profit from a sustainable future.

To achieve this DairyCo aims to:

  • Ensure farmers have access to world class information needed to improve competitiveness, GHG reduction and productivity
  • Ensure farmers have access to direct and indirect support to help them improve their profitability through better business management
  • Ensure that dairy farming is reducing its impact on the environment
  • Ensure farmers understand the benefits of breeding and use the related tools

DairyCo is funded entirely by milk producers, via a statutory levy on all milk sold off-farm, at the rate of 0.06p per litre.  This provides an annual income of around £6.5m.

DairyCo is a division of the statutory levy board, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

Related Links & Publications