The NFU says there were 19,000 dairy farms in England and Wales a decade ago. There are now 10,670 producers. 1,232 of those are based in the Midlands. The farming union is calling for urgent action to be taken over the cost of milk, to ensure farmers are paid more and can survive in the future.
Michael Davenport, a dairy farmer based in Market Rasen, says he needs to be paid two pence a litre more for his milk 'to break even', or four pence a litre more to make a profit. Michael is one of many farmers who has diversified and now produces cheese at his farm to survive.
– Michael Davenport - Lincolnshire Dairy Farmer
"There are four supermarkets who are paying cost of production plus. The others are continuing to just tell the milk processors what they're paying, and that's not acceptable. If they want their liquid milk they ought to be paying a fair price. The feed I have to buy in has gone up by thirty pounds a tonne."
The NFU says dairy farmers are still not being paid enough money for their milk. The union says the high cost of feed for cows is causing major problems in the industry at the moment, combined with the negative effects of the bad weather. There are now 8330 fewer dairy farms than 10 years ago.
The NFU says dairy farmers still aren't being paid enough money for their milk, despite protests last year. The high cost of feed and shortage of straw are also thought to be having a knock on effect on farmers, as well as varying supermarket prices.
One farmer has told Calendar that only the really big farms and small family ones are making any money, and that many are desperately trying to cut costs.