08 July 1998
Farmers welcome Milk Marque price hike

By Robert Harris

MILK Marques attempts to raise milk values were welcomed by farmers at the Royal Show yesterday.

Last week, the company announced it was raising prices to the trade by up to 2ppl at the start of the July selling round (for October supplies).

“Many members are desperate. We need to put some money back into farmers pockets,” said MMs managing director, Paul Beswick.

How much will find its way there will not be known until mid-July, after buyers have lodged their bids. Nevertheless, he remains optimistic. Some contracts have been made more flexible to better fit buyers needs, especially in the butter and skim milk sectors, where margins are low.

Mr Beswick believes dairy companies can afford to pay more for the rest. “They were paying significantly higher prices in the first six months of last milk year, and during the second half, were paying the kind of prices we want now. They still managed to post some very useful profits. Since April (after the last selling round) they have been on to a bonanza.”

Edward Owen, who milks 340 cows near Wrexham, receives about 16ppl at present for his milk. “Im all for Milk Marques attempts to raise the price. We need 5ppl more to make a fair return.”

“Its a start,” says Pembrokeshire producer Graham George. “We get about 15.5ppl at the moment. We are not making any money at that price.”

Graham Hartgrove from Northants agrees. “There is very little money in the job. At least we are getting more milk from grass at the moment. If these prices last until the winter, it will be much harder. But I think Milk Marque has got a good chance of getting a better price this time.”