Arla and Muller Wiseman’s milk recruitment drives have started strongly as the battle for British milk intensifies.

Arla signed up more than 100 farmers to supply in excess of 150m litres of milk in the first month of its mission to find 300m litres from new farmer-members.

And Muller Wiseman secured 200m litres of new milk in the year to the end of February and says momentum has accelerated since then.

The Glasgow-based company is looking for about 400m litres to grow its milk pool, which currently contains 1,200 farmers supplying about 1.75bn litres.

Last month it hiked its standard litre milk price by 1.1p to 33.6p/litre from April.

“We have predicted growth that over three or four years, so to do over half of that in one year is pretty good and tells us our offering is finding favour with farmers,” a Muller Wiseman spokesman said.

“We believe that our proposition – simple, clear, and not eroded by deductions for butterfat, haulage, balancing or a requirement for farmers to fund our aspirations – is compelling.”

“We believe that our proposition – simple, clear, and not eroded by deductions for butterfat, haulage, balancing or a requirement for farmers to fund our aspirations – is compelling.”
Muller Wiseman spokesman

Arla’s recruitment drive will take its UK membership to more than 3,000, so just under a third of British dairy farmers will supply them as co-op members or on direct supply contracts.

The co-op’s head of milk and member services Ash Amirahmadi said the co-op was paying the highest milk price in its history and urged farmers interested in the co-operative ethos to get in touch.

In January Arla raised its member milk price by 0.74p to 35.01p/litre, including a forecasted 13th payment, a move that has forced other processors to keep prices firm despite slipping global commodity prices.

“We are interested in recruiting farmers who want to own processing assets and take responsibility for the marketing arm of their milk, who see the benefits of being part of a progressive European dairy company with global reach, able to access markets including Africa, China and the Middle East, and who believe in investing brands to maximise their milk price,” he said.