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Fewer Farmers Producing Lots More Milk

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Fewer Farmers Producing Lots More Milk

Cows

Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

The number of dairy farmers in Iceland has gone down by around 200 in the last 13 years—at the same time as milk production has hit an all-time high. 40 dairy farmers quit the trade last year alone.

At an annual meeting of dairy farmers in Selfoss it was revealed that more milk was produced and sold last year in Iceland than any year before it.

“Yes, it’s the biggest year of production in the history of Icelandic dairy farming, 150 million liters, which is a huge production figure. Fortunately, it was also successful in that 140 million liters were sold on the Icelandic market, which is also a record,” says Garðar Eiríksson, head of the dairy farmer’s association.

Today, there are 548 dairy producers in the association, and a further 48 who exclusively provide the Skagafjörður cooperative. In 1978, there were 2,500 dairy farmers in Iceland—a figure which had dropped to 730 in 2003. Despite this massive drop, the amount of milk produced continues to rise, Vísir reports.

Garðar says it is all down to Icelandic farmers’ excellent results in breeding good cows, feeding them well and improving their equipment. “The Icelandic farmer is doing well,” he says.

But isn’t it a worry, how quickly their numbers are dropping?

“No, I think it’s just the way things are going. There is investment in new technology, new cowsheds, robots and other such things. Technology makes it easier to produce more units of milk and I think that’s a normal development.”

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