A 2.5ppl drop in milk prices would cut the amount of milk produced in the UK by one billion litres within three years, according to agricultural economist David Colman.
And if there were a further 1ppl cut, another billion litres would come out of the supply chain, Colman warned when he addressed a Defra seminar. However, he said even then the UK would fill its 14 billion litre quota - although not until 2015 - because farmers who were strong enough to survive the price cuts would expand rapidly.
By 2015 there would be 15,000 herds in the UK with the average size growing by 40%, all but wiping out herds of under 40 cows.