GB milk production still high despite early peak

British milk volumes for 2019 and 2020 are forecast to reach 12.56bn litres
British milk volumes for 2019 and 2020 are forecast to reach 12.56bn litres

A new forecast puts expected British milk volumes for 2019 and 2020 at 12.56bn litres, marginally down from the previous estimate but still a 29-year high.

The forecast, by AHDB Dairy, reflects expectations that yields are returning to normal levels, and from a slight reduction to expected herd numbers later in the year.

Continued strong yields from the winter, boosted from increased concentrate feeding, pushed production above expectations in April. An early peak brought the figures back in May.

Going forwards, yields are expected to return to more normal levels as concentrates are reduced in favour of forage.

This does, however, assume normal weather conditions.

Additionally, the forecast has reduced its expectation of herd size for the October-December period, based on trends seen in the latest available herd data.

This has reduced the expected production in the trough months by 25m litres.

Although production in Britain has been high, the picture is quite different elsewhere.

Global milk supply expectations have been reduced from 0.9% growth to 0.3% growth, with only modest growth in the EU.

Continued access to the EU market for exports, at least until October, should help support market returns, AHDB says.

However, a lack of storage capacity continues to be a concern for the domestic market, it adds.