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RABDF’s interim survey results highlight true scale of UK dairy losses

29 April 2020

A survey from The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) finds that more than 1 million litres of milk have been discarded since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.

Interim data from the RABDF survey found the amount of milk discarded between 6 April to 20 April to be a little over 1 million litres, which is in line with the figures produced by AHDB and Dairy UK.

The survey, which has been running for a week, is being completed by farmers receiving a reduced value or having to discard milk, including sheep and goat milk, as a direct result of restrictions brought in to control COVID-19.

The first batch of results have been collated to feed into Defra to highlight the scale of the problem affecting the UK dairy industry.

Currently, the worst affected counties with milk either receiving a reduced value or being discarded are Dorset (2.38 million litres (ml)); Staffordshire (2.17 ml); Kent (1.42 ml), and County Antrim (1.2ml).

Although the amount of milk being affected seems to have dropped since 20 April, there are still some farmers receiving a reduced price and occasionally, milk being discarded.

RABDF will continue to monitor this volume as more information becomes available when farmers receive their monthly milk statements next month.

The data is being processed for government and it is imperative farmers affected continue to fill in the survey.

RABDF chairman Peter Alvis said: “We continue to monitor the situation regarding the loss in value and all milk being discarded. There are about 2m litres of milk a day, that have not found a home in the retail market. What our survey shows is the negative impact it is having on those farmers most severely affected.”

He added: “It is imperative farmers continue submitting their information about the volume and value of milk lost so we can keep Defra informed of the size of the challenge this sector faces.

“We request Defra considers the seriousness of the situation and supports these farmers with a hardship payment. Any data we can continue feeding into Defra will only go to help this industry’s cause,” Mr Alvis said.

Farmers affected can fill out the survey here.


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