There is no doubting the huge number of dairy herds that have been dispersed over the years, but with the rise in new units – often on former beef enterprises – coupled with the increase in cow totals on those remaining, milk collections have risen by a massive 55m litres in the past four years.

Figures for 2018/19 show milk collections off farms in Scotland are up 4% on 2014/15 at 1,478m litres, which means that if the current trends on milk yield growth continue, the total amount of milk collected is expected to surpass 1,500m litres in 2019/20.

In contrast, processing volumes are estimated at around 1,294m litres for 2018/19, which is slightly down on the 1,327m litres estimated in 2014/15. This is mostly as a result of the closure of some processing facilities, including First Milk’s Arran and Muller’s Aberdeen and East Kilbride sites, but partially offset by expansion elsewhere.

As a result, the overall surplus of milk in Scotland for 2019/20 is estimated to be around 214m litres, according to a new report based on the fact the Scottish milking herd grew to 176,000 head in 2019 – up 1000 head on the year. Add to that the increase in average milk yield per cow as more farmers look improve levels of efficiency either by switching to robotic milkers of increasing to three times daily milking and total yields are only going to rise further.