FarmWeb News – 23/05/2019

The milk processor co-operative, First Milk, has announced a reduction in prices to producers as from June. Prices have been stable since February. The co-operative has 2,200 members and blames downward pressure on the UK dairy market. Prices across the UK are around 27-29p per litre with a rise in production of 1.1% in the year to date. Meanwhile Arla has confirmed that its price will be unaltered for June.

Following the recent £1bn sale of Dairy Crest to the Canadian company Saputo, it has been announced that the Dairy Crest name will disappear in July and the company will be known as Saputo Dairy UK.

Defra has released figures for organic farming in the UK for 2018. These show that the amount of land farmed organically has reduced by 8.4% to 474,000 hectares, representing 2.7% of total farmed land. Around 70% of organically farmed land is down to pasture and the fall is mainly in this low production land. There was a small increase in the amount of land proceeding towards conversion to full organic.

Registrations of new tractors rose by 35% in April to 1,606 units, the highest figure for seven years. The rise in the year-to-date is 1.6%.

The profitability of UK farming fell by 17% to £4.7bn in 2018. Gross output rose by 2% to £26bn with small increases in both the livestock and arable sectors. However, both sectors suffered with adverse weather conditions and an overall 8% rise in input costs, mainly fuel, feed and fertilisers, hitting finances.

A recent analysis of 15 major dairy producing countries compares production costs and profitability. A high level of international trade means that UK farmers are competing in a global market. The analysis showed that lower overhead costs were a major factor in profitability and that the UK had higher machinery costs, spending more than twice as much as the others and margins suffered accordingly.

New Defra rules mean that farmers, in England, who charge the public to attend events will need to obtain a licence from their local authority. An inspection will be required, and the licence will cost £260 but may vary between authorities.