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

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