Milk gets Cheaper than Water in UK as Small Farmers Fear Collapse

Family farming has been part of UK’s legacy for centuries. Today, its status is no more than endangered.

Due to the fall in recent food prices, UK’s farming fears extinction, warns industrial analysts. Tenant farmers are taking most of the heat and in a few years are expected to quit the lifestyle they have prized for generations.

The greatest threat to these farmers comes from price fall of dairy prices. China has lowered the demand for milk while Russia has put an embargo on European imports. Farmers that were already operating on very low margins are now selling their produces for a price that doesn’t break even with the cost.

Global Dairy Trade says the price is down by 48 percent with little chance of resurgence. This fall makes milk even cheaper than water because a four-pint bottle of water now costs 44p, one penny more than milk.

Such a scenario is very discouraging for farmers and this will most likely result in small farmers quitting their centuries-old tradition by either selling their property or by returning the land to landowners.

There were around 20,000 dairy farmers in England and Wales as of 2002, the number halved to 10,000 in 2015 and in another decade, this number could halve as well. According to NFU, UK’s farms will meet only 53 percent of total food demand by 2040.

Farming is a key contributor in UK, producing £8 plus revenue last year. But with the way things are going, it’s either “go big or go home” for small farmers.

Last week, EMB stated that the small farmers are looking at a ‘severe loss’ and that the European Union will increase production to lower prices.

Current prices are lowest when pitted against data of past 5 years despite Pound’s appreciation, says UN.

Allan Wilkinson, head of Agriculture, HSBC Bank also predicts a severe loss and price drop for farmers because of reduced demand in Asia plus the restrictions on dairy, and meat exports in Russia.

Not only is this fall expected to bring hardships for small time family farmers of UK, it is also going to leave a big impression on UK’s revenues and the economy on the whole.
What are your predictions on this? Do you think small farmers will be able to recover and prosper from this point? Please share your thoughts.

Karl Harper is a researcher and a writer by profession. he loves to be with his family, pets and friends when he’s not writing for

Share This Post

Post Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.