Rural Payments Agency figures show that the shortfall of milk deliveries to dairies increased during August. This was despite earlier hopes that the deficit was starting to narrow in July.

Provisional figures for August indicate a shortfall of 38 million litres - or nearly 3.4%. During July, 30 million litres or 2.4% less milk was available than a year earlier.

The figures mean milk supplies have fallen short of previous year levels in every month so far this year. The total cut faced by dairies over the past eight months amounts to nearly 360 million litres.