Adequate supplies for the liquid milk market; large drop in butter/SMP The cull to stop FMD will affect the throughput of dairy product manufacturers for at least the year ahead. Although the number of new outbreaks is falling, the cull of animals is still rising to worrying levels. By the middle of this week around 2.6 million animals had been slaughtered of which 433,000 were cattle, most of the balance being sheep. Relative to the number of cattle registered in the UK in the December cattle census, prior to foot and mouth, this represents a loss of exactly 4% of the national cattle herd. If the cull has been split pro rata between beef and dairy cattle (probably a conservative assumption as the main disease areas are mainly dairying), then this would be equivalent to the loss of dairy cows producing around 560 million litres of milk a year. There will be adequate supplies remaining for the liquid milk market but there will almost certainly be a large drop in output of butter and skim milk powder. If the entire cut in output was reflected just in these two products, this would be equivalent to a reduction in UK butter output in the next year of around 27,000 tonnes of butter, 20% of UK annual make. At the same time there would be a cut in skim milk powder output of over 50,000 tonnes or two thirds of UK annual make. Both of these products feature strongly in UK exports of dairy products so the next year or more will see a big fall in the export earnings of the industry. {{M/E CANNED GOODS }}