News

More dairy farmers unsure of their future

17 Jan 2024


Almost a third of British dairy farmers are unsure of their future within the sector, according to a survey carried out by the NFU. The ‘Dairy Intentions Survey’ of 600 dairy farmers, which was carried out in July 2023, found that 9% believed they would stop producing milk by 2025, up from 7% in 2022. A further 23% said they were unsure if they would continue to produce milk beyond 2025. Smaller enterprises, producing less than 1 million litres of milk per year, are more likely to stop production than those producing higher volumes.  

 

Of those ceasing production, a third (36%) are doing so due to retirement, while over half (52%) are unable to keep up with the scale of investment required to stay compliant with regulations, such as around slurry storage.  

 

Dairy farmers are facing a number of pressures, including high inflation and soaring energy, input and labour costs, combined with low prices for milk. The survey found that specific concerns were the effect of government regulation, feed prices, energy prices and cash flow and profitability. Almost three-quarters (74%) saw access to labour as a barrier, with the NFU calling on the Government to add ‘dairy technician’ to the Shortage Occupation List to help address the issue. 

 

The NFU claims that the sector is experiencing a ‘crisis of confidence’, with figures from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) indicating that in 2023, the number of dairy farmers in the UK has fallen to 7,500, a year-on-year decline of 4.8%. The NFU has called for the Government to support the sector with industry-wide regulation to ensure fairer and more transparent supply chains. 

 

Read more about the report here: https://bit.ly/3ZCTYJd and https://bit.ly/3ZHywCX 

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