Dairy Crest is to increase the price paid to producers on its Davidstow milk for cheese contract next month.

From 1 November, the price will rise by 0.7p/litre to a “record high” standard litre price of 29.01p/litre, based on 4% butterfat and 3.3% protein.

The increase is made up of 0.5p/litre onto the base price, plus an extra 0.1p/litre for milk with bactoscans up to and including 30,000, and another 0.1p/litre for somatic cell counts up to and including 200,000.

DC group milk procurement director Mark Taylor said the vast majority of the 400 farmers in the Davidstow milk field were already meeting the new quality criteria and so would get the full 0.7p/litre increase. “We’ve invested heavily in improving quality and it’s important farmers get recognition for this,” he said.

Mr Taylor acknowledged that market conditions remained “very competitive” as retailers looked to keep a lid on prices for cash-strapped shoppers, yet farmers needed higher prices to compensate for increased costs.

“It’s about achieving the right balance and from our point of view, having a strong brand in Cathedral City helps us to do that,” he said. “The brand continues to grow and we need to grow our milk volumes in response. Some of that will come from our existing core supply base, but we are also looking to attract new suppliers as well.”