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Farmers Should Demand Milk Price Increases

06 October 2009
National Farmers Union

UK - Dairy farmers should challenge their buyers and representatives for price increases, says National Farmers Union (NFU)dairy board.

Latest figures from DairyCo reveal that bulk cream prices have been rising since February from £750 /tonne to £1,350 /tonne in September. To a liquid processor this represents an increased income of 4.40ppl, from 4.25ppl in February to 7.65ppl in September. However, the annual average price for the majority of liquid contracts has remained unchanged since May.

With retail prices unchanged since last year, markets rising and farmgate prices down, NFU dairy board chairman Gwyn Jones is asking where is the money?

Wiseman's was the only liquid processor to increase its price in August by 0.3ppl on the back of increased cream returns, but farmers supplying Dairy Crest and Arla have received nothing, and should be challenging their representatives, demanding an immediate increase.

It is likely these buyers have been holding out to see what Tesco would do, said Mr Jones, but with the price review only resulting in a slight drop, Tesco's liquid price is still at the top of the league table.

“Farmers supplying milk for cheese have had a grueling year. But markets are tightening and prices should now be moving up," said Mr Jones.

With production in Northern Ireland falling and the increase of the prices over there, there may a shortage later in the year. Mr Jones believes the solution to this would be to reduce the Great Britain's vulnerability to cheap imports by addressing the lack of competitiveness.

"We can produce cheap cheddar but not before having a major overhaul of our manufacturing strategy," he said.

Gwyn Jones added: “The pressure is really on for farmer representatives to ensure that milk buyers are increasing prices in line with the market. Farmers need to be demanding that their representatives deliver.”

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