July 17, 2008

 

UK milk production decline to last until 2009

   

The decline of milk production in the UK is expected to continue into next year, according to local reports.

 

An article in The Scotsman indicated that UK milk supplies, which recently hit a 37-year low, will drop again towards the end of 2008, and stay low next year.

 

Industry commentator, Ian Potter, said production in June was down by over 20 million litres on the same month last year. This decline shows no sign of halting and unless ex-farm prices increase there will definitely be less milk on the market.

 

Jim Begg, Dairy UK director general said the group is concerned over the continued decline in milk production.

 

Unless checked, it will eventually impact on supplies to fresh product markets over the trough, although this eventuality is still some time off, Begg stressed.

 

However, on a more positive note, Begg said there is strong demand for UK milk and the industry is working hard to add more value to it.

 

Meanwhile, another issue the UK dairy sector faces is the threat of bovine tuberculosis (TB) among its herd.

 

According to official statistics, 28,000 animals were slaughtered last year because of TB.

 

The Scotsman carried predictions that this year's death toll may hit 40,000 animals. Over half of these animals will be dairy cows, it states.

 

The National Farmers Union (NFU) for England and Wales estimated that TB reduces milk output by 300 million litres per year. It is estimated to cost the British taxpayer and staggering GBP100 million annually.

US$1 = GBP0.4997 as of July 17, 2008