Stat of the Month: Pull the udder one

3.17p: The amount of money UK dairy farmers lose per pint of milk sold

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Britain's dairy industry is in crisis. Since 1995, the number of small dairy farms has dropped by two-thirds, from 30,332 holdings to 10,934. Rising costs are to blame. The average cost of milk production is 29.1 pence per litre (ppl), but the wholesale price paid by big retailers is 25.94ppl, leaving farmers out of pocket by more than 3p a litre. The supermarkets then sell it to their customers for around 76ppl. Ouch.

As farm numbers fall, Britain imports more milk from abroad, which isn't helping the domestic industry. It's likely Britain will turn to 'super dairy' farms, where thousands of cows are kept in sheds to produce milk on an industrial scale.

It's not all plain sailing: plans for a super dairy in Nocton Heath, Lincolnshire were scrapped last month, following concerns from the Environment Agency. Spotting cows grazing in a field could become a thing of the past.

Sources: DairyCo, NFU

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