Intervention Board estimate of deliveries during April unexpectedly low First official confirmation came late last week that UK milk output is suffering from the foot and mouth disease crisis. The Intervention Board estimate of milk deliveries in the UK during April was unexpectedly low at 1,150 million litres or 2.2% lower than in April last year. Views collected from around the country had suggested that supplies had risen since early April though were no means plentiful. The reason that a smaller drop was expected, despite foot and mouth disease, was that output was already disappointing a year ago, 5.2% lower than in April 1999. This now means that output has fallen over two years by a worrying 7.3% and with little prospect of any medium term recovery. Whilst the number of new foot and mouth outbreaks was declining during April compared with March, the peak of cattle slaughterings was not reached until the middle of April. It must be expected, therefore, that May ­ usually a peak output or flush' period ­ and subsequent months will show even more significant declines in monthly milk production. Estimates based on MAFF slaughter figures suggest that capacity of 550 million litres a year has been lost. {{M/E CANNED GOODS }}

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