If there’s one season that makes us all wonder if we’re right in the head for our chosen career path, it’s winter.
Who, in their right mind starts work in the dark, finishes work in the dark and faces all the elements that the heavens can throw at us day in day out? Oh yes – that’d be us - the wider farming community.
Thank goodness for the shelter of the cowsheds and milking parlour!
While at times, farming can feel like a bit of an uphill struggle, there can be many perks. In a bid to help you beat those winter blues, here at Megalac, we thought we’d give you a timely reminder of why we all do what we do.
So here’s a round-up of our favourite dairy farming facts that, we hope you agree, demonstrate that we all have plenty to feel proud about.
1. UK dairy farms produce 15 billion litres of milk per year.
That’s a whole lotta brews! (at an estimated average of 20 cuppas per pint, we’ll leave you to do the maths!) The highest annual figure since 1990 was recorded in 2018.
2. In 2018, milk accounted for 16.9% of total agricultural output in the UK.
Our girls definitely pull their weight for the UK farming industry and bring in a massive £4.5 billion in market prices.
3. The UK is the eleventh largest milk producer in the world.
When you consider the USA and India are in pole position with 98.7 and 89.8 million tonnes of the white stuff produced in 2018, and you compare them to our relatively minuscule landmass and 15.3 million tonnes of milk produced, that isn’t bad going!
4. In 2019, for the first time ever, the UK recorded a trade surplus in Dairy volume.
Contrary to popular belief this has little to do with Joe public opting for dairy substitutes and more to do with imports and exports. Reduced imports of skim milk and buttermilk and higher exports and lower imports of both cream and butter to be precise. Only 8% of all milk produced in the UK was exported in 2018 and while liquid consumption has reduced, the consumption of butter, cheese and cream has hugely increased.
5. Doorstep delivery has declined by from 45% to just 3% of household milk purchases since 1995.
One of the many perks of the job as a dairy farmer is having milk on tap, but we guess the local convenience store is the next best thing (if you can’t wait for a smiley chap in a milk float to deliver it to your door?!).
6. The annual milk yield per UK dairy cow has increased by 94% since 1975.
Yes, that’s right - back in 1974, our girls were producing 4,099 litres each a year. In 2018, they produced a whopping 7,959 litres each for the whole year.
7. The British dairy industry employs over 80,000 people.
That’s one heck of a community when you think about it - although spread far and wide. It’s nice to know we’re all in it together.
8. 98% of Britons eat or drink dairy products.
Be it milk, cream, yoghurt, cheese or ice cream, there’s very few of us who can resist!
9. There are 1.9 million dairy cows in the UK.
While this is a decline of 27% since 1996, the average herd size has actually risen by 97% in the same period, which means we now see fewer, but larger-scale farms.
10. More cheese?
Great British cheese – with just over 50% being in the form of the country’s favourite – Cheddar, finds its way into the shopping baskets of over 94% of UK adults.
What’s your favourite?