THE MILK Development Council has launched a new formula that will help show if farmers who supply milk for cheese are getting ripped off.

Called the Milk for Cheese Value Equivalent (MCVE), the new index will provide an indication of the value returned by processing milk into mild Cheddar and its associated by-products.

Ken Boyns of the MDC said the MCVE has risen by 1p/litre since April even though wholesale cheese prices had remained constant. This was because of strengthening whey powder values.

“There are some processors that aren’t easily able to take advantage of rising prices for whey, but nevertheless, the fact that some farmers have seen milk prices for cheese manufacture fall in the same period does seem ironic,” said Mr Boyns.

Tom Hind, NFU chief dairy adviser, welcomed the new formula. “It vindicates what people have been saying about the cheese market being reasonably stable and shows there is no reason to talk about downward pressure on prices.”