Wales and Scotland lift GB milk production

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

By Chris Gooderham

According to our latest estimates, GB milk production reached 12.5 bn litres in 2020/21. That is slightly down on the year before, mainly because of the curbing of milk volumes in the spring due to coronavirus. In general, over the last three years, GB milk volumes are showing a gradual increase, and our latest forecast expects this to continue.

A country breakdown of milk production is no longer available in the way it was prior to milk quotas being removed. However, we are able to estimate volumes based on the number of dairy cows in each country, and historic average yields.

The latest estimate suggests that the rise in milk production in GB has been driven by increased volumes out of Wales and Scotland. Over the last three years (between 2017/18 and 2020/21) GB volumes have increased by 139m litres (up 1.1%). Of this, Wales increased 79m litres (up 4.1%), Scotland rose 41m litres (up 2.8%) and England lifted only 19m litres (up just 0.2%).

This trend mirrors what we’ve seen over the longer term. Ten years ago, Wales and Scotland accounted for 13% and 11% of overall GB milk production respectively. Last year those numbers had risen to 18% and 13%.

Over the coming weeks we will look at how processing in each country has developed over the last year, and what that means for the latest country milk balances.

Image of staff member Chris Gooderham

Chris Gooderham

Science and Environment Director

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