Milk production falls rapidly from peak

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

By Chris Gooderham and Kat Jack

Daily GB milk volumes are now running 4.1 million litres per day lower than at peak, down 11%. That is the most dramatic fall from peak for at least 10 years. Volumes are down 3 million litres per day from the start of June, just six weeks ago. Deliveries for the week ending 10 July averaged 33.58ml/day, down 2% on the year and our forecast.

How unusual is this fall, and does it flag issues later in the year?

First, it is worth noting that the 2021 peak was in late April, earlier than usual, and production has therefore had longer to fall from this high. In fact, volumes have been roughly in line with where they were in 2018 for the last 3 weeks. During that year, volumes hit a low in early August and then started to rise as the autumn block calvers came back into milk.

According to our Forage for Knowledge survey, grass growth was above the 5-year average through June, but quality indicators like crude protein and metabolisable energy content were both low. This will have had an impact on milk yields.

Of more concern is the current hot weather. That is not currently reflected in the daily deliveries, but the heat stress on both cows and grass are likely to push volumes further down before they can start to recover.


Image of staff member Chris Gooderham

Chris Gooderham

Head of Market Specialists - Dairy & Livestock
Image of staff member Katherine Jack

Katherine Jack

Analyst - Dairy

Sign up for regular updates

You can subscribe to receive Dairy market news straight to your inbox. Simply fill in your contact details on our online form and select the information you wish to receive.

Visit the Keep in touch page

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.

All intellectual property rights in the information and data on this webpage belong to or are licensed by AHDB. You are authorised to use such information for your internal business purposes only and you must not provide this information to any other third parties, including further publication of the information, or for commercial gain in any way whatsoever without the prior written permission of AHDB for each third party disclosure, publication or commercial arrangement. For more information, please see our Terms of Use and Privacy Notice or contact the Director of Corporate Affairs at info@ahdb.org.uk  © Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. All rights reserved. 

×