Milk price drop warning

Andy Pemberton
Andy Pemberton
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Supermarkets and European sanctions are crippling prices angry Fylde dairy farmers warned today.

As it was revealed some UK dairy farmers are preparing to launch direct action against milk processing plants and supermarkets amid growing anger about falling prices, Fylde milk producers hit out at the paralysing effect of price wars.

Andy Pemberton, of Pembertons Dairies in Lytham, said: “I am very concerned.

“It is going to be a very, very bad thing for the country if it stays this way.

“We have an over supply of milk because of better weather and a better summer.

“The cream dairies and big producers have got more milk contracted to them than they can contract out. They have a surplus.

“Furthermore supermarkets need a commodity everyday to get people through the door. They (the supermarkets) use milk as a loss leader.

“This has been exaggerated by Russia, which has banned European Union imports in response to sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine.

“Even China is sourcing milk from Australasia now.

“I am adamant it is a terrible state the industry is in.”

The amount farmers receive for milk has been cut each month for the last four months, with the average cost of production of a litre of milk around 30p.

The typical price paid is now around 28p, down from around 35p in April, with some farmers now facing revenue losses of up to 25 per cent.

Harry Gardner, of Moss House Farm in Westby, said the worry for many farmers was how long the milk price crisis would continue.

He added: “I produce 1.5m litres of milk a year, so you can work out the impact it will have for me.

“Russia’s embargo is clearly a problem, while supermarkets have just posted losses and need a way to regain profits.

“It is a question of how long can we hang on for?

“We are virtually working for nothing. My worry is we will fall by the wayside.

“We do not want to give the impression we are whining, but we have a genuine complaint.”

Hundreds of farmers blockaded a milk plant in Shropshire on Monday, with another blockade planned today in Bridgwater, Somerset.