NEGOTIATIONS AIMED at achieving a sustainable milk price are set to take a step forward this autumn as representatives benchmark producers‘ pay against other industries to get further clarity over true costs of production.

Opening Dairy Event on Weds, Sept 22, Tim Brigstocke, chairman of the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers, told reporters that a change of attitude from retail and dairy trade organisations was paving the way to agreement and acceptance over production costs.

“There is genuine nervousness among retailers over the sustainability of the sector to deliver the 8-10m litres of liquid milk needed daily if producers continue to lose money,” he said.

“We have got almost universal acceptance on RABDF‘s Independent Guidelines for Dairy Costing Scheme put forward last year.

“But many retail organisations – even the OFT – had no idea many production costs quoted did not include producers‘ pay. We are about to address that.”

RABDF expects to announce the new benchmarking data in November this year.

“At the same time we need greater clarity and transparency over true costs up the supply chain to ensure producers are receiving a fair price for milk,” Mr Brigstocke added.