Dairy processors have been threatened with further direct action if farmgate milk prices fail to rise for October.

The threat from Farmers For Action (FFA) follows Muller’s announcement this week that its standard litre non-aligned price will increase by 1p to 32.5p/litre on 21 October.

The pressure is now on Arla and Dairy Crest to follow suit and deliver at least a penny more to farmers, said FFA chairman David Handley.

“The market is delivering good returns and any of the processors that have not moved the milk price are still under our keen and watchful eye,” he said.

“And as we are coming into the Christmas period we will be focusing very much on what the retailers are doing. We will be looking at the responses of retailers to the request of the processing industry for more money.”

Any retailers who failed to “play ball” would face direct action, similar to blockades at a Morrisons depot on 5 September, he said.

As Farmers Weekly went to press (Wednesday, 18 September), Mr Handley said a planned protest at an Arla site on Thursday this week had been called off as FFA had been assured by the company that milk price announcements would be made next week.

Milk price protests came under fire once again this week, with Muller Wiseman Milk Group chairman Roddy Catto describing last week’s blockades at Muller’s site in Market Drayton, Shropshire, as “counterproductive” and causing a halt to milk price negotiations.

His comments sparked a war of words with FFA, which claimed Mr Catto, when asked last week, had failed to avert protests by saying he was still waiting for news on a milk price increase.

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