By FW reporters

DAIRY companies have reacted angrily to the increased milk prices announced by the countrys biggest supplier of raw milk, the cooperative Milk Marque.

Milk Marque recently raised its milk price by up to 2p/litre for July and removed the rule which says 90% of its milk must be sold before that price sticks.

Paul Beswick, Milk Marques managing director, said he had changed the selling system to try and boost returns to the cooperatives farmer-members.

Many of our members are desperate, he said. The money that has been taken out of farming must go back.

But the way raw milk is sold could be radically different in future if the Milk Marque changes fail to lift milk prices for farmers. Gordon Summerfield, president of the Dairy Industry Federation, said Milk Marques strategy is radical and unwarranted.

The decision to introduce these changes is further evidence of Milk Marques abuse of its dominant position, he said.

Sir Ross Buckland, chief executive of Unigate, also slammed Milk Marques selling system. The way we buy and sell milk hampers our growth, he said. The system is complicated and unpredictable, while the price bears little relation to the market.

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