Tuesday, 2 November 2021
By Kat Jack
Our most recent survey of major milk buyers suggests that in October 2021 there were an estimated 8,000 dairy producers in GB. This is a reduction of 310 producers (3.7%) compared with the survey we undertook this time last year – but only slightly down from our April 2021 estimate of 8,040.
The latest number suggests that the average volume per farm in GB has risen slightly to 1.57 million litres per year.
Historic data can be found on our producer numbers page.
Why do we carry out the survey?
Getting a true picture of the number of dairy producers in the country is often difficult due to the different reporting methods used.
- The Food Standards Agency (FSA) can be used to track producer numbers across England and Wales, based on the number of farmers registered to produce milk. However, deregistering is voluntary, and therefore unlikely to be top of the “to do” list for a farmer leaving the industry. The FSA will often only capture this cessation when a regular check is carried out. These checks occur on a 10-year basis (for those registered with Red Tractor) or a 2-year basis otherwise. This means FSA numbers will often over-state the number of dairy farmers in the country.
- Defra carry out a survey on the number of dairy holdings across the UK, which returns a figure considerably higher than our estimate. This is because it includes all farms with a dairy cow over 2 years old with offspring. Around a third of those holdings had fewer than 10 cows, meaning they are unlikely to be commercial dairy farms, and would be excluded from our estimate.
AHDB’s estimate represents the number of producers actively contributing to GB milk production. It is based on the number of active producers and temporary inactive producers from the milk buyers that contribute to the Daily Milk Deliveries survey. This covers approximately 82% of volumes in GB, and so the estimate has been adjusted accordingly.
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While AHDB seeks to ensure that the information contained on this webpage is accurate at the time of publication, no warranty is given in respect of the information and data provided. You are responsible for how you use the information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, AHDB accepts no liability for loss, damage or injury howsoever caused or suffered (including that caused by negligence) directly or indirectly in relation to the information or data provided in this publication.