After one of the wettest summers in 100 years, the UK is facing dramatically tighter milk supplies and higher prices on key dairy products in 2013, industry experts are warning.

This week, Dairy Crest’s farmer group, Dairy Crest Direct, said that the unusually wet weather had greatly compromised feed silage quality and limited opportunities to graze cows, spelling a “nutritional disaster in terms of maintaining milk yield and cow fertility”.

Data from DairyCo suggests UK milk production is already suffering - volumes are down 6.5% year-on-year, amounting to a shortfall of two million litres a day.

“High feed costs and the extreme weather are having a dramatic impact on the level of milk production ex-farm, and this will continue well into the next milk year,” added DCD chairman David Herdman.

One cheese supplier said dairy commodities were now “desperately short” and warned that supplies would stay tight throughout 2013. “The situation on farm is desperate,” he said, adding that a late spring next year could spell an industry “catastrophe”.

The major dairy processors have all announced increases to their farmgate milk prices in recent weeks, as they compete to secure raw milk supplies.

DCD said it wanted farmers to be paid 32 pence per litre from February, up from 29ppl in November. “It is clear many dairy farms have been operating at a loss during 2012 - it is completely unsustainable to expect this to continue into 2013,” said Herdman.