Jenny Hobbs – who runs a farm near Gloucester and blogs on the subject – says that farmers are being punished by the low prices they get and believes it is ‘no wonder’ that many of them decide to leave the business.
Jenny says she is proud of the herd that she and her husband have built up over the years but she’s seen ‘a downward spiral’ that has ‘broken too many family farmers’.
Experts say to me that you have to get used to these cycles of high to low milk prices. But we shouldn’t have to get used to that! This is a product that everyone uses every day of the year. Yoghurt, cheese, butter, we all use it.
Yet the industry in England and Wales has been in steep decline with the number of farms down from 14,000 in 2000 to under 10,000 last year.
The average price paid to producers for all milk sold to dairies has dropped from a high of 31.51 pence per litre in 2013 to just 22.52 pence per litre in 2016.
That means it is costing farmers much more to produce milk than they earning in selling it.
That has led to farmers auctioning off their herds and equipment and moving into other types of farming.
Jenny says it is not a choice for farmers unable to make profit because of the dismal prices they get for their produce.
Jenny and many of her farming colleagues will be hoping this year that the milk starts flowing at a price which means they can make a living.