Dairy Crest hopes to announce higher farmgate milk prices later this month, but warns that continuing direct action puts progress with its customers at risk.

Improving milk and cream markets and a call by the company for higher prices from its customers meant that Dairy Crest was confident of delivering higher milk prices to its farmers as autumn progressed, said the company in a statement on Tuesday (11 September).

In the same statement milk procurement director Mike Sheldon said: “The work of the Dairy Coalition has been helpful in highlighting the issues faced by all dairy farmers, but ongoing direct action puts the progress we are making at risk.”

While the company had not been badly affected so far by direct action, such action could disturb the running of factories, which in turn could disturb customers’ businesses and that could make customers less likely to enter into discussions, said corporate affairs director Arthur Reeves.

Dairy Crest will meet its Dairy Crest Direct farmer suppliers later this month and expects to announce farmgate milk prices shortly afterwards.

“We have agreed a transparent mechanism so our farmer representatives can see that improved returns are properly reflected in our farmgate milk prices,” said Mr Sheldon.

On 26 July Dairy Crest set aside a farmgate milk price reduction planned for 1 August. It achieved price increases from that date with some customers and said it had funded the shortfall while discussions with others continued.

For more on milk price cuts

See our dedicated page on the milk price crisis