Dairy farmers in the UK are having to dump tens of thousands of gallons of milk due to a massive drop in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
With the closure of restaurants and cafes, demand from the food service industry fell by almost 50%.
Dairy distributors did not show up to collect the supplies because their processing plants are full and have reached their storage capacity.
Industry experts estimate that up to 300 farmers have had to get rid of the milk because the products can no longer be stored.
Among them is Clive Stickland, who said, “He is literally pouring money down the drain.
UK dairy farmers have to dump tens of thousands of gallons of milk due to massive drop in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic
Clive Stickland told MailOnline, “I had to get rid of 4,200 gallons (16,000 liters) when I received an email saying there would be no collection. I didn’t have the storage capacity to keep the milk, so he had to leave.
“I had to get rid of 4,200 gallons (16,000 liters) when I received an email telling me there would be no collection. I did not have the storage capacity to store the milk, so he had to leave.
“We all understand why demand has dropped, but it’s always heartbreaking to throw out our product. “
Stickland, 62, was caught turning on the tap of a milk storage tank on his farm near Billingshurst, West Sussex.
His 300 cows produce up to 1,800 gallons (8,000 liters) of milk each day and he has a scheduled collection by tanker every other day.
British dairies produce just over 220 million gallons (one billion liters) of milk each year. Like many dairy producers, Mr. Stickland sells his milk to Freshways, the UK’s largest independent dairy distributor.
They supply hundreds of companies in the restaurant industry, including McDonalds, British Airways and P & 0 cruises.
With the closure of these businesses or the layoff of staff due to the Covid-19 crisis, they have surplus milk and have also encountered problems with drivers and other staff members who have to isolate themselves and thus reduce their ability to work normally.
Milk supply to the retail sector for stores and supermarkets was not affected.
Fourth generation dairy farmer Llyr Griffiths had to dispose of 2,500 gallons (11,500 liters) of milk when his collection of Freshways did not arrive.
British dairies produce just over a billion liters of milk each year. Like many dairy producers, Mr. Stickland sells his milk to Freshways, the UK’s largest independent dairy distributor.
Fourth generation dairy farmer Llyr Griffiths had to dispose of 11,500 liters of milk when his collection of Freshways did not arrive.
The 28-year-old man, who operates a farm with 500 cows in Llangoedmor, near Cardigan, north Wales, received an email the day before his scheduled pickup announcing that it had been canceled.
Getting rid of the milk cost him £ 3,000 and he fears that it is only the beginning that could see his livelihood collapsed.
He said, “What is so disturbing is that there is no guarantee as to when the collections will take place.
“The cows have to be milked and if they are not picked up, I have no choice but to throw everything away.
“Until the lock is released, we will not see any changes. “
Abi Reader, who runs a farm in the Glamorgan Valley, said, “About 50% of the milk is sold at the retail level and 50% is sold to the food service.
“The restaurant sector has more or less disappeared. The food service sector was more valuable. And all the exporting dairy has become extremely difficult to move.
“Retail has increased by 20-25% due to the loss of the food sector, but there is a lot of excess milk floating around. With the loss of cafes, bakeries, vending machines, pubs and restaurants, people do not consume dairy products in the same way.
The National Farmers Union called on the government to step in and help the affected farmers.
NFU President Michael Oakes said, “We saw the near-complete loss of the restaurant market and the closure of restaurants and cafes during the foreclosure, which left some processors with little or no business .
“This has led some farmers to think that they have no choice but to have milk on the farm.
The National Farmers Union called on the government to intervene and help. NFU President Michael Oakes said, “We saw the almost complete loss of the food service market during the foreclosure, which left some processors with little or no activity”
“We are working urgently with government and the supply chain to find solutions to the problem, including measures that will divert milk to the retail sector and develop measures that will support farmers affected during this crisis. “
A spokesperson for the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers said it had asked the government to reimburse dairy farmers who receive significantly reduced value or who need to dispose of their milk.
Peter Alvis, President of RABD, said: “The removal of excess distressed milk from the market will help stabilize the current spot price without causing long-term market distortion. “
A Freshways spokesperson was not available to comment.
A Defra spokesperson said, “We have taken a number of steps to support our food and agricultural sectors to manage the impact of the coronavirus on the dairy supply chain.
“We are also working closely with representatives of farmers and processors to understand the specific challenges facing the dairy sector.