May volumes of milk deliveries at lowest level in eight years

GB milk volume in May showed a subdued and delayed spring flush, AHDB said
GB milk volume in May showed a subdued and delayed spring flush, AHDB said

Volumes of milk deliveries for the month of May are at their lowest level in eight years, the latest figures by AHDB show.

Total GB milk deliveries for May are estimated at 1,127 million litres, 1.2% below the same month in 2023.

In new analysis published today, AHDB said this was the lowest May milk volume recorded since 2016.

The levy board said it showed a subdued and delayed spring flush, along with prolonged wet weather delaying grass growth.

Average daily deliveries are estimated at 36.35 million litres with the peak day arriving on May 12, recording 37.34 million litres.

The latest BCMS population update shows that the GB milking herd remains flat year on year, indicating that lower volumes have come as a result of lower yields per cow.

Prolonged wet conditions not only held back cow turnout but have also delayed grass growth, AHDB explained.

“Looking at peak growth, although this was down year on year, it was higher than the five-year average, likely due to a break in the weather causing grass growth to shoot up in the early part of the month,” it said.

“Though silage season is now well underway, the slower start may well put pressure on forage supplies later in the year.

“Paired alongside this, hay and straw prices are currently sitting at a record high and farmers will be hoping the weather picks up in time for harvest after last year’s damp summer.”

Wholesale dairy product prices recorded an uplift during the latter half of May, as the extent of lower milk volumes were revealed.

“This has more recently resulted in most key milk buyers announcing price increases, with June milk prices trending upwards and July looking more positive,” AHDB said.

“With tight supplies in the market any changes in milk or dairy product demand will likely add pressure to pricing.”