This is a reduction of 340 producers (4.1%) compared with the survey we undertook this time last year.
The latest numbers suggests that the average volume per farm in GB has now risen to 1.56 million litres per year.
Why do we carry out the survey?
Getting a true picture of the number of dairy producers in the country is often difficult due to the different reporting methods used.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) can be used to track producer numbers across England and Wales, based on the number of farmers registered to produce milk. However, deregistering is voluntary, and therefore unlikely to be top of the “to do” list for a farmer leaving the industry. The FSA will often only capture this cessation when a regular check is carried out. These checks occur on a 10-year basis (for those registered with Red Tractor) or a 2-year basis otherwise. This means FSA numbers will often over-state the number of dairy farmers in the country.
Defra carry out a survey on the number of dairy holdings across the UK, which returns a figure considerably higher than our estimate. This is because it includes all farms with a dairy cow over 2 years old with offspring. Around a third of those holdings had fewer than 10 cows, meaning they are unlikely to be commercial dairy farms, and would be excluded from our estimate.