Jim Paice© REX/Tim Scrivener

First Milk has started the new year with more milk price pain, dropping both its headline rates to just over 20p/litre for February.

The price for farmers in the liquid pool will fall 1.6p/litre to 20.1p/litre, while the manufacturing price will slide 2.43p/litre to 20.47p/litre.

Both of the co-op’s prices have now fallen more than 12p/litre since April 2014.

The news follows hefty cuts by Arla and Dairy Crest announced in the past fortnight.

“The rest of the board and I remain acutely aware of the difficulties that the extreme market volatility is causing our members and dairy farmers around the world.” Sir Jim Paice, First Milk chairman

First Milk chairman Sir Jim Paice MP said the company had told member meetings the market was likely to get rougher before it gets better.

He said prices for core dairy products had softened further since early December.

“The rest of the board and I remain acutely aware of the difficulties that the extreme market volatility is causing our members and dairy farmers around the world,” Mr Paice said.

“We do not know how long this current downturn will last, however our priority is to make the business and our manufacturing assets as secure as possible in order that we can continue to process and market ever litre of members’ milk.”