Welcome to your new look Dairy Farmer, and thanks to all of you who replied to our survey outlining
the content you most wanted to see. We hope it fits the bill. This time last month we were worried about the implications of a no-deal Brexit coinciding with the spring flush, and the nightmare scenario that would ensue. This month we can relax, well at least for the time being.
Prime Minister Theresa May has successfully managed to kick the can down the road for another six months if there is no ratification of her deal before then. The important thing is that the delay gets us through the spring flush, allowing for a smooth flow of milk and cream to Ireland or mainland Europe at the industry’s busiest time of the year.
And this year, of course, is set to be busier than ever. The combination of a no-deal and record production would have been a recipe for meltdown.
But like Mrs May, are we just kicking the can down the road? What will happen when the whole Brexit hullabaloo has settled? We could find ourselves in a similar position next spring with lashings of milk and no home for it. Just look at the figures for a moment. Between 2006 and 2015, peak volumes would typically be about 41-42 million litres and never exceeded 42.5m litres. But in 2014, peak volume breached this ceiling at 43m, and in 2015 more than 45m.
Both 2017 and 2018 were close to that, and experts predict this year could see a new 46m litre bonanza, some 4-5m litres per day more than we are geared up for. To put that in context, it is another 160 reload tankers a day to cope with the peak compared to what it used to be.
Admittedly, there is some new capacity going in, but nowhere near enough. Unless we can convert our milk into high value products, with accompanying exports, the spring market is set to be devalued even further at this crucial time of year.