It has been a scorching hot summer for much of the UK. And as we start to look towards autumn, we thought we’d hunt out some dairy farming facts to put a smile on your face, reframe your mindset and even provide a little insight that might help you re-shape your dairy farming business model.
Did you know?...
1. The average yield of the UK dairy cow has risen by 100% since 1975 – up from 4,100 to 8,200 litres in 2020.
We knew the efficiency of our girls was out of this world, but this figure proves that our herds are seriously supercharged.
2. The most expensive cow in the world sold for US$1.925 million (€1.880 million) in June 2022.
Did you just faint? Us too! Doc is one of 6 Holsteins that have sold for over US$1 million in the last few decades, 4 of which are still influential today.
3. Cheese is the second most consumed dairy product in the UK – behind liquid milk itself.
Ok, that’s probably no surprise – more cheese Gromit? But what if we told you it has enjoyed the highest growth in consumption with a whopping 52.1% increase between 2000 and 2020?!
4. At its opening, Arla Aylesbury was not only the largest dairy in the UK, but the biggest in the whole world.
The site processes over 1.75 billion pints (1 billion litres) of milk per year and up to 420,000 pints per hour. Around 10% of the milk produced in the UK. With around 900 dairy farmers supplying to the dairy they mean serious business.
5. A whopping 4,620 million litres of milk was consumed as cheese in 2020.
Maybe it was all those lockdown cheese and wine night Zoom parties or maybe it was just the nation showing their growing love for the good stuff. We’ll wait and see what the next batch of stats have to say…
6. 78% of adults eat yogurt or fromage frais – with more than half of them tucking in twice a week or more.
Enjoyed with granola for breakfast, as a sweet addition to round off lunch, or as an accompaniment to fresh fruit for dessert – we can sure see the appeal.
7. Milk is rich in immunity and energy-boosting Vitamins A and B.
While calcium is the nutrient milk is most famed for being overflowing with, milk, cheese and yogurts provide a range of different B vitamins – known to be energising nutrients. Cheese is also a great source of Vitamin A - another vital nutrient responsible for a robust immune system. Great to know with all those bugs flying about as we head into winter (and even more of a reason to eat more cheese!)
Source: The benefits of milk and dairy
8. Paying more attention to feed efficiency indexes when selecting sires for dairy herds will help compensate the escalating costs of feed being witnessed today.
Buying the best cows you can afford has always been a smart move, but with our understanding of genetics advancing as much as they are, it pays to pay close attention to this information when adding to your herd.
In addition, feeding smarter, not harder would always be our top tip.
9. 78% of plastic HDPE milk bottles have been recycled since 2008
Getting our eco-conscious head on now… When you consider the average rate of all other plastic bottle recycling is just 58% - that really is a figure the dairy industry should be proud of.
10. Since launching the Dairy Roadmap in 2008, the industry has delivered a 24% reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions associated with milk production.
Way to go team dairy! We know what a daunting prospect meeting many of the targets set within the Roadmap was for the wider dairy farming community. But this figure just goes to prove that teamwork really does make the dream work.