Dairy industry in the UK: statistics
Standard Note: SN/SG/2721 Last updated: 30 June 2011 Author: Oliver Hawkins Social & General Statistics Section
This note sets out key statistics and current trends for the UK dairy industry. More detailed information on milk prices can be found in Standard Note SN/SC/546: Milk Prices.
A. B. C. D. E. F. UK dairy industry UK dairy herd Production International Trade Consumption Farm-gate prices Table 1: UK dairy cow numbers, 1980 to 2010 Table 2: Number of registered UK dairy production holdings, 1995 to 2010 Table 3: Average UK dairy herd size, 1999 to 2009 Table 4: UK milk production: 1995 to 2010 Table 5: Milk production in the 15 top milk-producing countries, 1998 to 2009 Table 6: UK trade balance in dairy products, 2009 Chart 1: Farm-gate milk prices, January 1991 to March 2011 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 5 5 5 6 6
Standard Notes are compiled for the benefit of Members of Parliament and their personal staff. Authors are available to discuss the contents of these papers with Members and their staff but cannot advise others.
UK dairy industry
The UK is the third largest milk producer in the EU after Germany and France – and the ninth largest producer in the world. Milk accounted for 16.1% of total agricultural output in the UK in 2010. 1 Around 13 billion litres of milk are produced each year. Most of this is consumed within the UK, as liquid milk and dairy products. The industry was worth £3.3 billion at market prices. 2 In 2010, around half (51%) of the milk processed in the UK was used for liquid milk. A further 26% was processed as cheese, with the remainder used for milk powder and condensed milk (10%), cream (2%), butter (2%), yoghurt (2%) and other products (3%). 3
UK dairy herd
Table 1 shows that the number of dairy cows in the UK has declined steadily since 1980. The total has fallen from 3.2 million in 1980, to 1.8 million in 2010: a 43% reduction. The decline in the size of the dairy herd has been accompanied by a similar fall in the number of dairy producers. Table 2 shows that the number of registered dairy producers in the UK fell from 35,741 in 1995 to 15,716 in 2010. Table 3 shows that the average herd size has risen, as those holdings with smaller herds have left the industry. In 2009 the average number of cows per herd was 113, compared to 80 in 1999.
While the number of UK dairy cows has decreased, the yield per cow had been increasing up to 2005. As a result, total domestic milk production has been fairly static between 1995 and 2005. Between 2005 and 2009 total domestic milk production has fallen. However, in 2010 production increased for the first time since 2003, and average yield per cow has increased every year since 2008 (see Table 4). 4 Table 5 details milk production over the period 1998-2009 in the fifteen top milk-producing countries in 2009. The decline in production over the period in the UK corresponds to reduced outputs in a number of other European countries. By contrast, production in China, Pakistan, India, Brazil and New Zealand has increased considerably over the period.
Defra, Agriculture in the United Kingdom 2010, May 2011, Table 9.1: http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/foodfarm/cross-cutting/auk/ 2 Defra, Agriculture in the United Kingdom 2010, May 2011, Table 5.17: http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/foodfarm/cross-cutting/auk/ 3 Dairy Co. UK Milk Utilisation.16 May 2011. 4 The average yields have to be taken with a degree of caution as they are based only on the total milk production recorded divided by the size of the dairy herd.
There is little overseas trade in liquid milk, but considerable trade in processed products. In 2009 less than 0.5% of liquid milk produced in the EU was exported. 5 Table 6 shows that the UK had a negative trade balance in dairy products in 2009 – mainly butter and cheese. Imports make up a very...
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