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Country report: Scotland’s dairy sector rising to the top

Scotland’s dairy sector has great ambition with a new strategy in place.

Armed with its location, ideal climate, abundance in fresh water, and with top quality milk, the Scottish dairy sector is aiming to rise to the top and boost its economic value. Its plan is outlined in its ‘Rising to the Top 2030’ report. It has set out on a journey to enter a new chapter and boost its economic power further and put in place a plan to increase manufacturing capacity, global market entry and play an even bigger role in facing climate challenges, among other goals.

The Scottish industry is finding innovative routes to market in order for Scotland to benefit from the demand for milk in countries such as Southern Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa. Photo: Shutterstock
The Scottish industry is finding innovative routes to market in order for Scotland to benefit from the demand for milk in countries such as Southern Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa. Photo: Shutterstock

Since the inception of ‘Ambition 2025’ in 2013, a study on the growth opportunities for Scottish dairy, The Dairy Growth Board was formed in 2014 and opportunities have now been evaluated and developed, said Paul Grant, chair of The Scottish Dairy Growth Board in the recent report.

Dairy product markets
Dairy Global offers readers access to the futures market a clear overview of prices for: raw milk, dry whey, skimmed milk powder, cheese, and butter. Stay up to date...

Scottish industry enters global markets

One of the main focuses for this industry is entering new global markets. Thus far, demand for Scottish products like cheese has led to entry of 15 new international markets with annual sales of £30 million achieved. According to the report, there are important products that are not yet produce in Scotland, including UHT dairy products or milk powder, which are key for entering new global markets. On the agenda, and in the midst of constant drought challenges globally, the Scottish industry is finding innovative routes to market in order for Scotland to benefit from the demand for milk in regions such as Southern Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Africa.

Goals for 2030

The aim of the sector is to establish itself even more and do so by 2030. The vision includes:

  • A thriving dairy industry, which will be worth £1.4 billion to the Scottish food and drink industry by 2030 (up from £800 million in 2018), the majority of which will be achieved through export activities.
  • Stabilised farm numbers and more productive herds
  • A drive for an increase in sustainable productivity and efficiency on farms to ensure that the dairy sector is more resilient and profitable.
  • More investment by farmers due to an increase in return as world demand for Scottish dairy rises.
  • It wants to see new and expanded processing facilities built.
  • International trade boosted, with targets like sending powdered milk to the Far East and fresh liquid milk to international markets.
  • In terms of climate change, the expectations are:

- By 2023, 75% of farms to have undertaken new carbon-reduction activities

- By 2026, 50% of farms to have undertaken new carbon-reduction activities

- By 2030, 100% of farms participating in activities that will reduce their impact on the environment

Scotland dairy farming in numbers

  • 843 herds, average size: 209
  • 18% of milk sent to England and Wales
  • 41% of Scottish supply is drinking milk and 38% is for cheese making
  • Scotland accounts for 9% of GB milk production
  • £800 million total value contribution to Scottish economy
  • £57 million dairy exports seen
  • 5 major processors account for 94% of milk collection
  • £1.1 billion is spent on dairy products in Scotland per year

Scotland’s dairy sector is aiming high and sees a thriving industry ahead by 2030, the vision is a stronger sector built with the blocks of better efficiency and greater strides in development on its home turf as well as abroad. It is now in the process of building its industry within the global dairy market, with the ultimate goal of remaining a top player. Grant further adds that, “The Dairy Growth Board looks forward to leading and collaborating with the Scottish sector to deliver the recommendations set out and acting as guardian of the sector’s ambition.”

To read the full report, click here

Dairy product markets
Dairy Global offers readers access to the futures market a clear overview of prices for: raw milk, dry whey, skimmed milk powder, cheese, and butter. Stay up to date...