Covid-19 'cost dairy sector £28m' in April and May

At GB level, AHDB estimates that the financial disruption as a result of the pandemic has cost producers around £28m in April and May
At GB level, AHDB estimates that the financial disruption as a result of the pandemic has cost producers around £28m in April and May

The financial impact of the coronavirus crisis on the British dairy sector has been estimated to have cost £28 million during April and May, AHDB says.

The loss of foodservice market as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic has affected a significant number of dairy farming businesses in the country.

Now a new report by AHDB has explored the financial impacts of Covid-19 on the three countries that make up Great Britain - England, Scotland and Wales.

With almost three-quarters of British dairy producers farming in England, the financial impact on English farmers is considerably higher than the other devolved nations.



However, the number of dairy farmers in each nation vary massively, and dairy businesses in the various nations have been affected in different ways.

Therefore, looking at the overall monetary cost for each region only provides a one-dimensional view, the report notes.

Financial impact on GB dairy farmers, April and May 2020 (Photo: AHDB)
Financial impact on GB dairy farmers, April and May 2020 (Photo: AHDB)



"If we focus only on the farmers who have been affected financially, we can chart the average impact per farmer in each country," said Felicity Rusk, AHDB dairy analyst.

"We estimate that almost half of dairy businesses in Wales have been ‘highly’ impacted as a result of Covid-19.

"Therefore it is not surprising that the financial impact per affected dairy business is higher than the other two respective nations, at £6,100 per farmer," she said.

Average financial impact on GB dairy farmers affected by nation (Photo: AHDB)
Average financial impact on GB dairy farmers affected by nation (Photo: AHDB)

Meanwhile, the average cost to English dairy farmers is almost a third lower than that of Wales, at £4,100.

Looking at Scotland, the financial disruption to the dairy industry there looks comparatively lower than England and Wales.

"However, if we exclude the 46% of Scottish farmers that have, so far, suffered no financial disruption as a result of the pandemic, the average for the remainder is put at £5.1k per farmer," Ms Rusk explained.

In response to the challenging market conditions, both the English and Welsh governments have announced funding available to dairy farmers.



Furthermore, governments from all four devolved nations within the UK have come forward to support the AHDB's new £1 million consumer marketing campaign, Milk Your Moments.