Milk reservoir in parlour©Tim Scrivener

The UK’s largest family run independent dairy has raised prices by a minimum of 1.5p/litre, which will bring its standard milk price to at least 19.85p/litre.

The increase, which will affect Freshways’ 180 farmers, will come into effect on 1 October.

The move abandons Freshways’ usual basket price calculation, which is based on rates from Arla, Dairy Crest and Wisemans.

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Instead, the processor said it would not wait for others to raise their prices considering “significant market changes” in the past few weeks.

“We could not understand why other processors had not taken this opportunity,” said Freshways managing director Bali Nijjar.

“Being fully aware of the plight of our dairy farmers and having full knowledge of how tough it is to farm and to run a business making losses, we decided it was time to paddle our own canoe and raise prices.”

Freshways has written to the majority of its customers requesting substantial increases in what it pays for their milk products.

He added: “Once these rises have been achieved, we will be in a position to confirm the exact price increase.”