No change forecasted for 2020/21 milk production

Thursday, 26 March 2020

By Kat Jack

GB milk production is expected to reach 12.52bn litres in 2020/21, according to our latest forecast. This will be level with where we expect the 2019/20 season to end.

For 2019/20 we previously forecasted production of around 12.58bn litres, which would have been a 29-year high if realised. However, milk production growth faltered in January and February 2020, running as much as 2.6% below forecasted levels. Subsequently our expectation for the 2019/20 season now sits at 12.52bn litres.

Although current expectations are for similar production this season and next, we are not expecting the same profile across the year. For 2020/21, we are expecting lower production in the spring and a later peak compared with 2019/20. At the other end, production in the latter half of the season is projected to be above year-ago figures.

The new season begins in turbulent times, most notably due to the coronavirus pandemic. We have heard of some processors supplying foodservice markets asking their farmer suppliers to pull back on milk volumes if at all possible. There are limits to what can be achieved without putting the viability of the farm in danger and having a knock on impact on the rest of the year. However, concerns over the virus, its impact on labour and milk prices, coupled with the wet ground conditions, all mean we expect volumes to be back in the spring. If production is pulled back even further in April and May, this will have a knock-on effect on production through the rest of the season.

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