Dairy farmers in Cumbria will now be able to take up a new milk contract with prices based on quality rather than quantity.

The first of its kind in the UK, according to processor First Milk, the contract will pay producers on the weight of butterfat and protein in the milk supplied, rather than the standard p/litre method.

This contract is non-compulsory and available to all First Milk members in the Lake District Creamery field. It’s also open to other Cumbrian farmers interested in supplying the Lake District Creamery.

The new contracts will help it obtain a milk supply that offers the best profile for making cheddar. It will improve the efficiency of the business and pass some of this back to farmers, said First Milk membership director Alan Taylor.

“We hope the potential rewards of the contract will also appeal to other farmers in Cumbria who have good quality milk and are not currently reaping the rewards.”
Alan Taylor, First Milk membership director

“When producing cheese and whey protein concentrate as we do at the Lake District Creamery, we’re looking for a different profile of milk from farmers than that required for liquid processing. It is the protein and butterfat in milk that are important for making cheddar, and the higher the milk quality we receive in terms of protein and butterfat, the less milk is required to make a tonne of cheese which makes the creamery more efficient.”

First Milk has worked with farmers suppliers over several months to develop the new contracts and Mr Taylor estimates the contract could be worth £20,000 a year to a million litre a year producer.

“We hope the potential rewards of the contract will also appeal to other farmers in Cumbria who have good quality milk and are not currently reaping the rewards.”

Farmers who would like to find out more about the contract should contact Toni Bruce at the Lake District Creamery on 016973 24912 or emailing ToniBruce@firstmilk.co.uk.

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