Eighteen months on from the SOS dairy protests, farmer confidence in the dairy industry is back - and at a record high, new research suggests.

DairyCo’s latest Farmer Intentions Survey, which gauges confidence among dairy farmers, shows just 4% of UK dairy farmers plan to exit the industry over the next two years. That’s the lowest level since 2004, when DairyCo first ran the survey and a whopping 22% of dairy farmers planned to leave the industry. Last year, the number stood at 9%.

Fifty-four percent of dairy farmers said they planned to maintain their current level of production over the next two years, and 31% said they planned to increase it.

Farmers’ satisfaction with their contracts is also high: 80% of farmers polled said they were happy with their contract and 85% were happy with their milk buyer.

Asked about their confidence in the dairy industry’s new voluntary code of conduct introduced in the wake of the dairy farmers’ 2012 campaign for improved contract terms, 20% gave a score of 4/5 for confidence and 4% gave it 5/5. However, 25% were unsure.

The survey polled 1,060 UK dairy farmers.