Dairy producer numbers drop to new lows

The number of dairy producers in Great Britain has fallen by 2% during the past 12 months to just 7,850 in October 2022.

AHDB figures showed 150 producers had left the sector in the past year, although only 30 of those were during the most recent six months.

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Charlotte Forkes-Rees, analyst at AHDB said: “While input costs have continued to rise over the last year, increased milk prices have helped to offset higher costs.

“This may be why fewer farmers have left the industry when compared with previous years. However, variations between contract prices may have encouraged a number of producers to switch contracts over the past six months.”

While the number of producers continues to steadily decline, the volume of milk produced by each farm has increased to 1.57m litres a year.

Defra’s June census put the dairy herd (cattle aged two year or more) in England on 1 June 2022 at 1.09m head, down by 0.7% on the previous year.

Food Standards Agency figures

The number of registered holdings of dairy producers in England and Wales stood at 7,926 in April 2022 according to the Food Standards Agency.

Wales accounted for 1,490 holdings and England accounted for 6,436.

Producers by region in England

  • North: 1,212 holdings
  • North West: 1,717 holdings
  • East: 84 holdings
  • Midlands: 856 holdings
  • South: 153 holdings
  • Mid-West: 1,011 holdings
  • Far West: 1,223 holdings
  • South East: 180 holdings