More than 1 million litres of milk discarded in the UK
UK farmers have been forced to discard of more than one million litres of milk since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with some still struggling to find a home, according to an industry survey.
Interim data from the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) survey found the amount of milk discarded between April 6 to April 20 to be a little over one million litres, which is in line with the figures produced by AHDB and Dairy UK.
The survey, which has been running for a week now, 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 data is being processed for use by the government so it is imperative farmers affected continue to fill in the survey.
The first batch of results have been collated to feed into Defra to help policymakers understand the scale of the problem so appropriate that support can be considered for the industry.
Currently, the worst affected counties (with milk either receiving a reduced value or being discarded) are:
- Dorset (2.38 million litres);
- Staffordshire (2.17 million litres);
- Kent (1.42 million litres); and
- Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, (1.2 million litres).
Although the amount of volume affected seems to have dropped since April 20, 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.
Calls for a hardship payment
RABDF chairman Peter Alvis said: “We continue to monitor the situation regarding the loss in value and all milk being discarded. There are about two million 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.”
Farmers affected can fill out the survey at: rabdf.co.uk/survey.