Estimated milk production costs

25 November 2019

Showing how GB milk production costs have changed over time. The monthly costs on this page are estimates based on farm accounts from the 2017/18 financial year. They are averages of the previous 12 month period.
This page is updated every three months.

Trends in milk production costs

  • Milk production costs have been on the rise since the 2016/17 financial year.
  • Estimated costs have gone up by around 1 pence per litre (ppl) since the end of the 2017/18 financial year. This is a rise of about 3%.
  • Production costs vary between farms. If you would like to know more about the range in production costs, you can find out more by downloading the Dairy Performance Results 2017/18.

Reasons behind the trends

Purchased concentrate costs:

  • Purchased concentrate costs have gone up by 11% since the end of the 2017/18 financial year.
  • This is due to higher concentrate prices per tonne.
  • The rise affected all three calving systems but had the biggest effect on AYR and autumn calvers.

Herd replacement costs:

  • Replacement costs have gone up by 14% since the end of the 2017/18 financial year.
  • This is due to higher heifer prices and lower cull cow prices.
  • The rise affected all three calving systems but had the biggest effect on spring calvers.

Fertiliser costs:

  • Fertiliser costs have gone up by 15% since the end of the 2017/18 financial year.
  • This is due to changes in market prices for fertiliser.
  • The rise affected all three calving systems to some extent, but had the biggest effect on spring calvers.

Veterinary and medicine costs:

  • Veterinary and medicine costs have gone up 14% since the end of the 2017/18 financial year.
  • This is due to changes in veterinary and medicine prices.
  • The rise affected all three calving systems but had the biggest effect on AYR and autumn calvers.

Latest estimated costs

These costs are estimates. You can find more detail on how they are calculated under “Additional information”, further down this page.

Production costs vary between farms. If you would like to know more about the range in production costs, you can find out more by downloading the Dairy Performance Results 2017/18.

Estimated GB milk production costs for the 12 months ending August 2019

Additional information

  • This page is to help look at changes in the cost of milk production over time.
  • The costs on this page are based on farm accounts from over 300 dairy farms. We have used costs for the 2017/18 financial year and adjusted them for the most recent changes in:
    • Input prices
    • Concentrate usage
    • Milk yields
    • Milk solids
  • The costs are averages for the previous 12 months. August 2019 costs are the average for the 12 months from September 2018 to August 2019.
  • If you would like to explore milk production costs in more detail, you can download Dairy Performance Results 2017/18. This includes data from over 300 GB dairy farms, which the figures on this page are based on.
  • The cost estimates on this page are for guidance only, to help put recent market changes into context.
  • We show estimated costs for AYR, autumn and spring calving systems, to allow you to compare your own costs with figures for the system you use.
  • Farms were ranked by the ratio of their outputs to inputs (a measure of their productivity) to produce the top, middle and bottom sets.
  • Full economic cost of production is the total cost of milk production, including:
    • A value for unpaid family labour
    • Depreciation of machinery, equipment and buildings
    • An imputed rental value for owned land.
  • Cash cost of production only includes costs that the farm will literally make a payment transaction for. Therefore it does not include:
    • A value for unpaid family labour
    • Depreciation of machinery, equipment and buildings
    • An imputed rental value for owned land.