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Why British dairy farmers have to discard their milk

09 April 2020

The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) has produced a Q+A document to help answer questions on why some farmers are having to discard their milk despite shortages still being seen in a few supermarkets.

The document "Getting to grips with the impact of Covid19 on milk supply issues" details why dairy farmers are being affected, how many are affected, as well as the wider impact the coronavirus is having on the dairy sector.

RABDF chairman Peter Alvis said: “We felt it was necessary to pull together a Q+A to help the public and also equip farmers receiving questions from the public with some short answers as to what is happening in the dairy supply chain at the moment.

“The dairy market has suffered a huge shock due to the instant closure of cafes and restaurants, coupled with customers now purchasing more from the supermarkets. The dairy industry is working really hard to try and redirect this milk to the supermarkets and outlets that are still open, and as quickly as possible. However, this is not a simple process.”

It is thought orders from cafes, restaurants and other catering outlets, known as the food service sector, have dropped by approximately 70-80 percent. This equates to about 1 million litres of milk being produced every day that has got nowhere to go. This has resulted in some farmers having to get rid of their milk.

It is estimated the milk being disposed of is the equivalent of the production from approximately 300 farms, but a significantly higher number are being affected by a reduced milk price and/or payment terms.

You can access the full Q+A document on the RABDF website.  



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