Falling prices high on Dairy Show agenda

09 October 2023

Cattle being shown in the main ring

Farmers from across the region gathered at the Dairy Show, held at the Bath & West Showground near Shepton Mallet.

The NFU stand was busy all day as members met regional staff, advisers and the NFU dairy team to talk over the current issues.

Recent falls in the milk price were of particular concern.

Regional dairy board chair Stephen Dark said that whilst dairy farmers were feeling under pressure due to low prices, he remained hopeful that the situation would improve in the coming year.

“Currently, prices have declined by 30 to 35% for most producers from the high prices of the summer and autumn of 2022 and this looks set to continue in the short term at least,” he said.

“Many dairy farmers will be able to ride out the storm, but for the smaller family businesses that typify this region, the next year will be crunch time. Factors like whether they have succession in the business, secure land tenure or new infrastructure requirements could well become the deciding factor alongside milk price.

Many ‘considering options’

“The reduction of direct support payments at this time is also unsettling. The delayed roll out of the new Sustainable Farm Incentive has left many still considering their best options, particularly as there are limited options for the intensive dairy sector.

“There are some positives signs though. The last two Global Dairy Trade auctions have shown some increases, and easing milk supply in the US and other continents is creating positive moves on commodity prices globally.

“At home, consumers are also starting to return to more regular buying habits after the depths of the cost-of-living crisis which should translate into improved milk prices at the farmgate.

“And we still have export opportunities we must capitalise on. In emerging markets, there is a wealth of new consumers willing to purchase the high quality and nutritious dairy products that we produce in the South West.”


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