18th November 2017

Dairy highlights shortage of local milk

A shortage of milk has been reported by the local dairy following a farmer’s decision last year to throw in the towel.

Shetland Farm Dairies has “wholeheartedly” apologised for the drop in supply.

Dairy manager Gerry Byers said the firm is “working hard” to keep supply going.

“We are delighted that customers in Shetland enjoy the products we make, understanding that it is locally produced from the four farms in Shetland.” he said.

It is almost a year since South Mainland dairy farmer Derek Flaws announced plans to quit milk production. Mr Flaws, who had been a dairy farmer for three decades, claimed at the time he saw no “long-term future” for the industry. He had been a shareholder of Shetland Farm Dairies since it was bought from Robert Wiseman Dairies in 1994.

Mr Byers said the loss of that farm had impacted on total production.

“This along with the impact that is felt at this time of year – due to the changing weather conditions and fresh grass availability – has caused a shortage.

“The dairy farms in Shetland are keen to have their herds graze out in the Shetland summer, unlike many farms throughout the UK which have housed cattle all year around. The down side to this is the reduced ability to control how much the cattle are eating – and so how much milk they can produce.”

The dairy received negative feedback last year when it emerged it was using Orkney milk. Shetland Farm Dairies says it has not taken that measure this year to overcome the current shortage of supply.

“We trust that our customers, who enjoy the purely Shetland produced dairy products, will bear with us as we wait for the milk yield to return to the levels which can meet the demand.”

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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