A survey of around 2,000 of the world’s top dairy farmers reveals the priority is to maintain profitability during periods of low milk prices. Conducted by DLG (German Agricultural Society)-Agrifuture Insights, more than 80% of farmers in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia and the UK said they are working to reduce production costs to improve profitability.

Nearly 95% of UK farmers are seeking a more stable business environment, with Poland and Russia also scoring more than 90% on this question and only 60% in the Netherlands. The figures suggest that Poland, Russia and the UK are vulnerable to low milk prices, whereas Dutch dairy farmers would appear to operate in a more stable business environment.

Improving feed efficiency is another important goal for more than 70% of farmers questioned in all the countries, and a major focus in Germany, Russia and the UK. Optimising herd management is also a goal in all the countries surveyed, and a particular aim for Dutch milk producers, who scored it significantly higher than the others at more than 90%. Increasing animal welfare is another target for European dairy farmers, particularly in Poland and UK where milk producers reckon there is potential to improve things.

The DLG-Agrifuture Insights surveys are conducted every February/March in the southern hemisphere and every  August/September in the northern hemisphere. The survey questions dairy farmers in 13 countries – Brazil, China, France, Germany, GB, Iran, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, the US and Zambia. The results are supplemented by continuous background research and regular interviews with the industry’s top decision-makers.