Despite soaring costs of production, and higher prices paid for all types of cattle and sheep, dairy cows are still seen as worthwhile investment with milk prices in excess of 40p per litre and further increases expected.

“A milking cow is one of the cheapest things in farming you can buy at present, when she can bring in £5000-£6000 worth of milk sales per year,” said Glyn Lucas, dairy sales manager and auctioneer at Harrison and Hetherington’s Borderway Mart, Carlisle.

“Our dairy sales are considerably up on the year and there is still room for improvement when you think milk margins are better than they have been in the last 20years with dairy farmers at last making money,” he said.

Mr Lucas added that last month’s pedigree club sale saw milking cow and heifer averages level at £2400 – a rise of £214 per head on the same sale last year. Commercial milking females are up double that increase, averaging £2200, compared to £1726 in June 2021.

Cast dairy values are also higher than they’ve ever been, with several lots bringing in £1200+ through Borderway Mart, Carlisle, as producers sell off problem cows quicker and replace them with fresher, home-bred heifers.

Beef calves from the dairy herd continue to sell well too with prices regularly above £500 per head for the best through Borderway Mart, although values have slipped slightly in recent weeks, due to increased feed costs.

Mr Lucas also highlighted that UK milk prices are below those in Europe, with figures from the EU Milk Market Observatory for May, showing Belgian producers receiving an average of €57.50 per kg or 49.34p per kg; Irish producers on €52.84; Dutch dairy farmers on €52.50, and Danish on €50.94.

Milk prices are also higher in the US and New Zealand, which according to the same EU Milk Market report, show April 2022 values of 47.83p per kg in America and 37.6p down under.

Meanwhile, the latest world milk trading event which took place on Tuesday, saw the Global Dairy Trade price index fall 1.3% against the previous auction of dairy commodities held earlier in the month which increased by 1.5%. In all, 20,760m tonnes of product was sold to average $4600.

It was a poor auction for cheddar, which saw a 9% drop to $4875/mt to follow on from the previous event when, cheddar values fell by 3.6% to $5365/mt.

Anhydrous milk fat fell by 4.7% to $5913, while whole milk powder (WMP) dropped by 0.6% to $4125.

Butter prices did however improve by 2.4% to $6213, with skim milk powder(SMP) up by 1% to $4276. Butter milk powder (BMP) was not offered for sale.