With it looking likely that United Milk’s dairy plant at Westbury will be saved by the intervention of three dairy co-ops after it went into receivership last month, data has emerged revealing the effect it has had on UK butter and skim powder manufacture.

Details of milk utilisation in England & Wales in July, in a month when 2.4% more milk was delivered off farms compared with last year, show that butter manufacture rose 31% compared with July 2002. Over seven months this means that butter output has risen 14%. The effect of Westbury has been even more dramatic on output of SMP which soared year-on-year in July by 76% and over seven months has almost exactly doubled.