Dairy farmers have been forced to throw away tens of thousands of litres of milk down the drain due to HGV driver and labour shortages.
A dairy farmer said he was forced to throw away 40,000 litres of milk in the last two months because no drivers came to collect.
The farmer said, “It’s cutting, it’s emotionally draining when you’re producing milk and at the end of the day you have to pull the plug and it has to go.”
Farmers are very concerned that this could be just the “tip of the iceberg” as winter approaches.
Peter Alvis, chairman of the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) said, “I don’t think things with global supply chains have settled down again after the pandemic, and the shortage of HGV drivers is having quite a large impact.”
The RABDF are urging consumers to continue buying dairy products as normal and not to panic buy.
Alvis said, “The HGV driver shortage is having an impact on the dairy sector, which has resulted in a small number of farmers having to dispose of their milk.
Whilst it is hard to put a number on the exact number of farmers affected, but at the moment, we believe it is only affecting a few producers.
“We are monitoring the situation, and should farmers be experiencing issues, we urge them to get in touch with us.”
Alvis said any loss of milk sales is devastating if the processor doesn’t pay for uncollected milk.
He added, “As many dairy farmers do not make a profit on their milk or only a minimal margin, any minor knocks are felt very quickly.
“The global supply chain hasn’t fully returned to normal following the pandemic, and the shortage of HGV drivers is now adding to this problem, which is why we are seeing such an impact.
“That said, milk and dairy products are still making it through to the supermarket shelves, so it is important consumers continue to shop normally to avoid any shortage situations seen at the start of the pandemic when panic buying occurred,” he said.
The RABDF said it is thought Britain has an estimated shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers due to Brexit, poor pay and the pandemic.