AHDB’s recent survey of major milk buyers suggests that in April 2022 there were an estimated 7880 dairy producers in GB – a reduction of 160 producers compared to this time last year.

This is a slower rate of exit than previous few years, despite the high cost pressures farmers have been under since last summer.

The latest figures suggest that the average volume per farm in GB is 1.57 million litres, level with October 2021 and very slightly up on April 2021.

Getting a true picture of the number of dairy producers in the country is often difficult due to the different reporting methods used.

Read more: BCMS figures show decline in GB milking herd

The Food Standards Agency produces figures for England and Wales, based on the number of farmers registered to produce milk. However, de-registering is voluntary, and therefore unlikely to be top of the 'to do' list for a farmer leaving the industry.

The FSA will often only capture this cessation when a regular check is carried out. These checks occur on a 10-year basis (for those registered with Red Tractor) or a two-year basis otherwise. This means FSA numbers will often over-state the number of dairy farmers in the country.

Defra carry out a survey on the number of dairy holdings across the UK, which returns a figure considerably higher than the AHDB estimate. This is because it includes all farms with a dairy cow over two-years-old with offspring. Around a third of those holdings had fewer than 10 cows, meaning they are unlikely to be commercial dairy farms, and would be excluded from this estimate.