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UK dairy farmers forced to pour tens of thousands of liters of milk away due to HGV driver shortage

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

Milk is discarded on a farm in Shropshire county, Britain, on September 3, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

British dairy farmers have been forced to pour tens of thousands of liters of milk down the drain due to an unprecedented shortage of about 100,000 lorry drivers, which has also disrupted the delivery of products to supermarkets, leaving the shelves empty and triggering a panic-buy.

A dairy farmer in central England, quoted by the Daily Mail, said on Thursday that he had been forced to dump 40,000 liters of milk over the past two months after no driver showed up to collect it.

“It’s cutting, it’s emotionally draining when you’re producing milk and at the end of the day you have to pull the plug and it has to go,” the middle-aged farmer said, adding that he had had to destroy four milk loads since the beginning of August, the paper said.


Since dairy farmers don’t make big profits from their milk, small challenges have big implications for them, said Peter Alvis, chairman of the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers.

He warned that the shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers is having quite a large impact.  

Other farmers have allegedly turned to ‘distress milk services’, which are small businesses set up to buy milk at lower prices and move it to other outlets to stop it from being dumped away.

“This is only the tip of the iceberg. I think it will get worse. In wintertime if there’s snow, drivers get slowed down, and it’s going to make even more of an impact,” said Rob Hunthatch, 38, who runs a distress milk service rescuing milk for half its normal price. 

The development comes in the wake of record energy prices and fuel crisis.

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