Despite a loss of dairy farms in the past year, average milk production by farm has remained high, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

After the levy board’s most recent survey of major milk buyers, it estimated that there were 7,500 dairy producers in Great Britain as of April 2023.

Compared to the survey of the same month last year, this represents a reduction of 380 dairy producers.

However, milk production is not suffering as a result, AHDB said, as good weather conditions last autumn and the vestiges of higher prices at the end of last year meant milk production by farm remained high over autumn and winter months.

Trainee analyst at AHDB, Tom Price, said milk volumes/farm remain high with the latest figures suggesting that the average dairy farm in Great Britain producers 4,500L/day.

Leaving the dairy industry

Price said that the last 12 months have seen more producers leave the dairy industry compared to previous years.

“Despite the fact that the latest Agricultural Price Index (API) indicates input cost inflation has eased, inputs costs remain historically high,” he said.

“In combination with falling milk prices, this has squeezed profit margins for many dairy farmers.

“The current high level of cull cow prices, as well as ongoing uncertainties about changes to agricultural subsidy schemes has led to some producers changing their future direction.”

After the publishing of the most recent API, AHDB compiled price inflation statistics to show how farm businesses are still struggling despite the easing of inflation.

AHDB said that, although the API shows fertiliser price inflation down by 22% in the first two months of the year, the overall price inflation is still up by 6% compared to February 2022 and 116% above the level from two years ago.