The spring of 2021 has been challenging for farmers, with the weather playing havoc with the grazing season on many farms. April has traditionally been the beginning of peak milk supply, giving us the first chance to see how the challenging conditions have affected milk intake in 2021.

Domestic milk intake by creameries and pasteurisers was 6.1% higher in April 2021 compared to April 2020, according to the latest figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

1,042.4 million litres were taken in April, an increase on the 982.7 million litres in the same month of last year.

Looking at the figures for the year so far, around 2,406.6 million litres have been taken in 2021, a 8.6% increase on the figure for the same period in 2020 (2,216.3 million litres).

Milk intake breakdown

The data analyses is of whole milk purchased by creameries and pasteurisers from domestic producers through collection depots and separating stations, including whole milk obtained from herds owned by the creameries and pasteurisers. 

Fat and protein content in domestic milk has only changed marginally over the last number of years – with this continuing to be the case. With average fat supplied for April 2021 being 3.99% and protein 3.44%, compared to fat 3.97% and 3.43% protein in April 2020.

Looking at some of the figures in more detail, they show that total milk sold for human consumption increased in April 2021, when compared to April 2020 – from 47.1 to 47.6 million litres.

For skimmed and semi-skimmed milk, 15.5 million litres were sold in April 2021, up from 15.2 million litres in April 2020.

Butter production saw an increase of 3.3% compared to March, with a total of 30t for April 2021. This was also an increase when compared to April 2020 when 29t was produced.

Moving to skimmed milk powder, there was an increase of 4.3t for April 2021 when compared to March, but a decrease of 3.8t when compared to April 2020 figures.