12 October 2000
Crest improves on milk price increase

By Robert Harris

DAIRY CREST, the largest buyer of raw milk in the UK, has revised its October milk price increase following, it says, further talks with customers.

But there is little doubt that farmer pressure, including recent blockades, also played a part.

Chief executive John Houliston said that both direct suppliers and co-ops would receive an extra 2ppl, rather than the 1.4ppl announced two weeks ago.

This is backdated to the beginning of this month and will hold until 31 December, when the company will review the market again.

“We are very pleased to be able to make this announcement. We are sure our suppliers will see it as a welcome move,” he said.

Although the increase is lower than the 3-4ppl some observers believe the commodity markets can stand, Mr Houliston said these products only represented a proportion of Dairy Crests output.

The company also needed to invest and drive its added value business forward, he added.

He added that the company would allow co-ops to withdraw from contracts linked to the intervention milk price equivalent, which would have returned a much lower price than those linked to real market prices.

Farmers For Action regional co-ordinator Derek Mead described the rise as a starting point.

“Weve not got there yet. We shall be assisting Express, Wiseman and Dairy Crest to wind up the profile of liquid milk. We are still looking for 5p/pint more.”

Dairy Crests announcement follows Expresss recent move to increase its ex-farm price by an extra 0.5ppl, taking the total increase this autumn to 1.5ppl backdated to 1 October.