More gloom for the milk sector as another processor cuts payment

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ANOTHER big milk processor has announced a heavy cut in payments – equivalent to £1,500 a month off the income of the average dairy farmer, according to NFU spokesman Tom Cummins of Whitby.

First Milk, a co-op with a substantial Yorkshire membership, including refugees from the Dairy Farmers of Britain collapse, announced that its buying prices would be going down between 1.25p and 1.85p per litre from June 1, depending on which end uses the milk is for. The announcement followed cuts of up to 2p a litre by Wiseman’s, Arla, Dairy Crest and Muller.

First Milk chairman Bill Mustoe said: “I fully recognise the impact that this will have on our members’ farm margins. This is the first time on my watch that we have had to reduce our milk price and it is done with great regret.”

He added: “While we cannot buck the market, we are transforming First Milk. The global demand for dairy, which has been hit by some short-term over-supply, will recover and returns will be strong in the long term.”

The announcement meant farming minister Jim Paice went into a dairy supply chain forum warning the processors they needed to hurry up a voluntary code of practice on contractual changes or face legislation.