First Milk prices on the rise

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First Milk producers were yesterday told that those supplying the manufacturing pool would, in addition to previously announced increases this month and next, receive another 1p per litre (ppl) from the beginning of September.

That would bring their price up to 31ppl while those supplying the liquid pool would see their milk valued at 30.85ppl from September.

Bill Mustoe, First Milk’s chairman, said the latest price moves had been made possible by a combination of securing additional returns from core markets as well as diverting a greater proportion of existing volume to the company’s skimmed milk powder joint venture, where returns have been strong.

The latter was proof that the company’s policy of adding value to milk was beneficial for producers. “We will drive better returns for our farmers through delivering great tasting, nutritious food for consumers, in the UK and abroad,” he said.

“An example of this strategy in action is the recent launch of Lake District Dairy Co Quark. It is a product that delivers on a number of fronts – great taste, versatile, naturally low in fat, high in protein and low in salt and sugars, making it a healthy ingredient for a variety of dishes.”

Yesterday’s announcement coincided with NFU Scotland urging milk processors to use what they described as “soaring wholesale prices and future prospects for milk and dairy products” as the “ideal opportunity to send clear signals to dairy farmers that milk was wanted”.

The union pointed out that, while many commodity prices – including powder and cream – were now more than 60 per cent up on the year, farmgate prices had increased by little more than 10 per cent in the same period. This gave processors ample scope for further significant increases back to producers.

Union milk committee chairman Gary Mitchell said: “Positive milk price moves are both wholly justifiable and necessary and I firmly believe they will come. The key issue is when.

“Confidence levels on Scottish dairy farms are low, the past 18 months have been a genuine struggle, but if we are to rebuild and tap into the genuine potential for dairy that exists in Scotland, then milk price moves must come sooner rather than later.”

ANDREW ARBUCKLE

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