Over 1,000 dairy farms have closed in England and Wales over the past three years, according to figures from AHDB Dairy.

The figures show that there has been a steady decline in the number of farms in the dairy industry in England and Wales since 2005.

In 2013, the number of dairy farms in England and Wales stood in the region of 10,540. This compares to 9,538 dairy farms in 2016 – a decline of just over 1,000 in the space of three years.

UK dairy producer numbers

Source: AHDB Dairy

Producer numbers have continued to drop month-on-month, with the latest AHDB figures showing that producer numbers for England and Wales stood at 9,538 at the beginning of July 2016, a fall of 21 (0.2%) from the previous month.

Compared to the same month in the previous year, producer numbers are down by 239 (2.4%).

In Northern Ireland, the most up-to-date figures from AHDB show that in 2015 there was 2,742 dairy farms. This is a decrease 80 on the three years to 2012.

In the 10-year period to 2015, the number of dairy farms in Northern Ireland has fallen from 4,058 by 1,396 to 2,742 dairy farms.

Looking at the UK as a whole, the AHDB figures show that for the three year period between 2012 and 2015, the number of dairy farms fell by 952 to 14,307.

Meanwhile, in the 10-year period to 2015, the number of dairy farms in the UK has fallen by from 20,313 by 6,958 to 13,355.

Also Read: Dairy prices remain on course to rise in the first half of 2017 – Rabobank

Low milk prices could be a factor in the decline in farms dairying numbers in the UK, with the average milk price in the UK falling by 11.81p/l (14.01c/L) between May 2016 and May 2014 to 20.44p/L (24.25c/L).

Dairy farmers in Northern Ireland have seen the average milk price drop by 13.28p/L (15.78c/L) between May 2016 and May 2014, the AHDB figures show.