It’s official, total GB milk deliveries in May are one of the lowest recorded, on the back of a cold, wet spring and reduced grass growth.

Total milk deliveries for the month are estimated at 1,127m litres which is down 1.2% on the same month in 2023, and the lowest May milk volume since 2016. Average daily deliveries are estimated at 36.35m litres with the peak day arriving on May 12, recording 37.34m litres.

The latest BCMS population update shows that the GB milking herd remains flat year on year, indicating that lower volumes have come as a result of lower yields per cow.

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According to a report from AHDB, prolonged wet conditions held back cow turnout and delayed grass growth. Looking at peak growth, although this was down year on year, it was higher than the five-year average, due to a break in the weather causing grass growth in the early part of the month.

Wholesale dairy product prices recorded an uplift during the latter half of May, as the extent of lower milk volumes were revealed. This has more recently resulted in key milk buyers announcing price increases, with June milk prices trending upwards and July looking positive.

With tight supplies in the market, changes in milk or dairy product demand will likely add pressure to pricing.

Figures from BCMS show the GB milking herd stands at 1.64m head, which matches the figure recorded in 2023 and supports wider commentary that the lower milk production seen so far this year has been the result of reduced yields, rather than herd size.