October 7, 2009


UK dairy group urges farmers to demand for higher milk prices



UK dairy farmers should challenge their buyers and representatives for price increases, according to the National Farmers Union (NFU) dairy board.


Latest figures from DairyCo reveal that while income for milk processors have increased since February, the annual average price for most liquid contracts has remained unchanged since May.


NFU dairy board chairman Gwyn Jones questions the whereabouts of the money, with retail prices unchanged since last year and with rising markets and declining farmgate prices.


Wiseman was the only liquid processor to increase its price in August on the back of increased returns, but farmers supplying Dairy Crest and Arla have received nothing and should challenge their representatives for an immediate increase, the NFU said.


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


Dairy farmers have had a difficult year, but markets are tightening and prices should be moving up, said Jones.


Falling production and rising prices in Northern Ireland may bring about a supply shortage later in the year. To solve this problem, the UK must reduce its weakness to cheap imports by addressing the lack of competitiveness, Jones said.


The industry's manufacturing strategy needs a major overhaul, he said.