Dairy farmers in the south-west are calling for Milk Link to join forces with Robert Wiseman Dairies when it opens its new 30m facility at Bridgwater, Somerset next summer.

Local producers hope that Wiseman’s move will boost milk prices and morale in the area and claim that it is an ideal opportunity for Milk Link to demonstrate the benefits of co-operation.

Finn Christensen, of Steanbow Farm, Pilton, Glastonbury, said that Wiseman’s aggressive marketing would be good news for the industry.

“Ideally I would like to see it as a joint venture with Milk Link, as it will give them both more strength against the supermarkets.

Milk Link has got the milk supply in the south-west and it should save a lot in efficiencies.”

Will Sanderson, corporate affairs director for Milk Link, said the firm was monitoring developments but declined to comment on whether any joint venture was in the pipeline.

“There are opportunities and issues that crop up all the time and we will take the appropriate action when the time is right.”

Graham Jack, a spokesman for Wiseman, said the dairy would source as much local milk as possible and would examine its milk procurement strategy for the new facility in the coming months.

Local farmers hope that Wiseman’s premium milk prices will boost other companies’ payments in the region.

“If there’s another buyer in the local market and they pay a better price it might pull the other ones up,” said Peter Trump, of Holly Farm, Peasemarsh, Ilminster.

The facility, which now has outline planning permission and a contract with developer Derek Mead, will be situated at Mr Mead’s regional rural business park near Junction 24 of the M5.

The remainder of the 56-acre site – which should create about 1000 jobs in the region – has outline planning permission for a range of agricultural facilities including a new livestock market.

Work will begin in the spring and should be completed within 12-18 months.

olivia.cooper@rbi.co.uk