Businesses could “run out of milk” due to rising farm costs.

Shelves filled with milk (Picture: Getty)

Dairy farmers have been hit by surges in the price of petrol, fertilizer and forage (Image: Getty)

Milk shortages could come to Britain as the dairy industry fears it could be crippled by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Soaring fuel, fertilizer and feed prices, along with supply chain threats, have pushed dairy farming into an even deeper crisis.

It could see supermarkets run out of white stuff unless farmers can recoup an increase in costs, the boss of Danish dairy giant Arla Foods has warned.

“We will probably have supply problems in May or June this year,” Ash Amirahmadi said.

“If retailers are willing to stock up on what is necessary, we will not have supply problems.

“But if that doesn’t happen, we could expect a deficit of 4 to 5%. The shops could run out of milk.”

According to research by comparison website, consumers are already feeling the rise in their pockets.

Data shows that the average price of 116 different dairy products rose by 9p in February compared with September to £1.43.

The industry has also been particularly hard from the economic impact of Brexit and Covid-19 (Image: Getty)

The dairy industry has also been hit hard by Brexit and Covid (Image: Getty)

A two-litre bottle of Cravendale semi-skimmed milk rose by 22p or 12.6% last year to an average of £1.97.

Experts also believe the prices of bread, potatoes and pasta could rise by as much as 50%, taking the country back to the first few months of lockdown, when shelves were emptied of essential items.

The cost of sunflower oil is also increasing, affecting owners of fish and chip shops.

Andrew Cook, President of the National Federation of Fish Friers, said: “I’ve been in business for 22 years and this is the biggest threat I’ve ever faced.”

With Russia and Ukraine accounting for more than half of the world’s sunflower oil supply and 30% of wheat, grain prices have already surpassed those at “the start of the 2007-2008 Arab Spring and food riots,” according to the UN chief.

There are now fears farmers would not be able to cope and shops could run out of milk (Image: LNP/REX/Shutterstock)

There are now fears farmers will not be able to cope (Image: LNP/REX/Shutterstock)

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the war held “a sword of Damocles” over the world economy, especially developing countries.

“Food, fuel and fertilizer prices are skyrocketing,” he said. “Supply chains are disrupted.

“And the costs and delays in transporting imported goods – where available – are at record levels.

“All of this hits the poorest hardest and plants the seeds of political instability and unrest around the world.”

Mr Guterres added that the war showed “how global dependence on fossil fuels is putting energy security, climate protection and the entire world economy at the mercy of geopolitics”.

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Justin Scacco

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