Coronavirus: UK pig sector could take surplus milk

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/didesign021
© GettyImages/didesign021

Related tags dumped milk Coronavirus

The current shutdown of the UK food service and hospitality sectors due to restrictions in place over the coronavirus outbreak means there is a lot of surplus milk, which potentially presents an opportunity to some pig producers, said the UK National Pig Association (NPA).

Like their counterparts in the US and in Canada, dairy farmers in the UK have been forced to dump unwanted milk due to lower demand from fast food outlets, canteens, restaurants and cafes shuttered during the lockdown.

UK milk producers have seen orders dry up, despite milk processors saying they are working flat out to maintain supermarket supplies as retail demand for milk rises.

The NPA proposes that for producers with liquid feed systems, there may be the potential to utilize some of this raw milk, but noted that, for those that haven’t used raw milk in feed before, there are some guidelines which must be adhered to:

  • Unprocessed milk must be brought in from a registered processor or producer.
  • A farm using such milk must get registered on the national milk register before feeding unprocessed milk or milk products (England and Wales only, not Scotland).
  • Movement restrictions - 21-day standstill - will apply to any holding, apart from a slaughterhouse that a farmer send animals to if there were fed raw milk or raw milk products, unless they move to a holding also feeding raw milk or raw milk products.

For pig farmers, working under the Red Tractor assurance standard, there is also the requirement that bought in feed must be from an assured source, stressed the NPA.

The official UK government guidance feeding milk and milk products to farm animals can be read here​.

The NPA said it is continuing to work with the UK government and other industry bodies to support the sector during the coronavirus crisis. 


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