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United Kingdom Milk Prices and Composition of Milk

13 November 2009

UK - The latest national statistics produced by Defra on UK milk prices and composition of milk were released on 10 September according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority. In September 2009 the UK average farm gate price of milk (excluding bonuses) was 24.05 pence per litre.

Statistics on monthly average farm gate milk prices in pence per litre for the United Kingdom are published for the thirteen months to September 2009. Weighted annual averages for 2003 to 2008 are also shown. (Table 1)

Statistics on the average butterfat and protein content of UK produced milk are published from April 2005 to October 2009 for butterfat, and from April 2005 to September 2009 for protein. (Table 2)

Key points:

  • In September 2009 the UK average farm gate price of milk (excluding bonuses) was 24.05 pence per litre.
  • This is a weighted average price received by all producers for their milk, and as such has been affected by Dairy Farmers of Britain going into receivership. This resulted in some producers not receiving any payment for milk supplied in May 2009 and a reduced payment for milk supplied in June and July 2009, lowering the average milk price. Users should be careful when comparing this price with figures for previous months.
  • To aid comparisons with previous months a weighted average price received by producers, excluding those that supplied Dairy Farmers of Britain, has also been provided for January 2009 to June 2009.

1. UK farm gate milk price (pence per litre)

The average UK milk price is calculated from monthly surveys of milk purchasers conducted in England and Wales by Defra, in Scotland by RERAD and in Northern Ireland by DARD. These surveys together account for approximately 92 per cent of UK milk bought by milk purchasers this month. The farm gate price is the average price received by producers, net of delivery charges. No deduction has been made for superlevy.

From May to July 2009 this weighted average price was affected by Dairy Farmers of Britain going into receivership. This resulted in some producers not receiving any payment for milk supplied in May 2009 and a reduced payment for milk supplied in June and July 2009, slightly lowering the average UK milk price. The effect is negligible in July 2009, but users should be careful when comparing the May and June prices with those for previous months.

To aid comparisons with previous months a weighted average price received by producers, excluding those that supplied Dairy Farmers of Britain, has also been provided for January 2009 to June 2009.

Average prices for previous months and years are available at: https://statistics.defra.gov.uk/esg/datasets/milkpri.xls

Table 1: UK farm gate price of milk (pence per litre)

Farm Gate Milk Price

2. Composition of milk in the UK

Average butterfat and protein contents are derived from information provided by milk purchasers via the monthly MQ12 returns to the Rural Payments Agency with additional protein data from Defra’s monthly survey of milk purchasers in England and Wales.

Table 2: Average Butterfat and Protein Content of UK Produced Milk

Content of Milk Produced

In 2008/09 the average butterfat content for the milk year was 4.06 per cent, as in 2007/08. Butterfat figures are published monthly by the RPA together with UK wholesale milk deliveries data at http://www.rpa.gov.uk/rpa/index.nsf/home (click on “rpa schemes” followed by “Milk quotas” and then “Latest News”).

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