A VISION of the future of British dairying has been launched by the NFU, alongside advice on milk contracts from the Milk Development Council.

Gwyn Jones, chairman of the NFU’s dairy board, told journalists in London that the current milk price crisis must force the whole industry to overcome mutual distrust and work together.

Retailers and processors were beginning to realise that a sustainable dairy sector was vital for constant supply, he added, urging them to open the debate on the future now.

“The processors are not enjoying price pressures this year. The situation is spiralling out of control.

“You’ve only got to look at Scotland to see what the alternatives to this document are.

“We are looking forward to dialogue, but also pressure on processors from producers and retailers.”

Ken Boyns, chief economist at the MDC, said a good place to start this dialogue was between milk buyers and farmers over their contracts.

“Contracts can prevent farmers from responding to market needs, and supplying what buyers want. They also lead to a lack of clear signals for farmers.”

He called for more fixed price and fixed term contracts and urged farmers to produce to a more level profile.

*See Farmers Weekly on September 16 for full details.