7 April 2000

Milk co-ops go against flow

MILK Marque successor co-ops Axis and Zenith have announced small increases in their producer prices for April deliveries, bucking the trend of the main direct buyers.

Axis, which operates in the middle of the country, is keeping its constituent values the same as Milk Marques at 1.63p a % butterfat and 2.73p a % for protein. But it is also paying a monthly trading bonus to members, worth 0.2p/litre.

This takes the standard litre value to 16.7p, including maximum bonuses of 0.6p/litre for top band Bactoscan and cell count. Haulage deductions, seasonality and level delivery bonuses are all "as before".

The trading bonus will be reassessed periodically, said a spokesman. Even though most of the milk has been sold on six or 12 month contracts, much of this is index linked to currency, so actual market returns will fluctuate.

Zenith, in contrast, has gone for a straight increase in constituent values, with butterfat at 1.65p a % and protein at 2.75p a %, taking the equivalent standard litre to 16.67p.

Quality bonuses and transport deductions are unchanged, but the company has altered its seasonality schedule, with April prices deducted 0.5p/litre instead of 1.5p/litre.

"April is still very much a winter month for us in the north," said a spokeswoman.

&#8226 South Wales dairy company, Farmers and Dairymen, has gone into administrative receivership, leaving debts of £3.3m due to cash flow problems. Profits took a dive last year following the loss of two major customers, explains Barry Jones of receivers KPMG.

And, although turnover had just about recovered, the company then suffered milk sourcing difficulties, following the demise of Milk Marque. Successor co-op, Axis, did not renew the contract and alternative supplies were too expensive. &#42

Beef subsidies 1999

Full Balance

payment (£/head)

(£/head)

Suckler cow

premium 103.04 41.21

Beef special premium

Bulls 96.00 38.40

Steers 77.30 30.92

Extensification

Less than 1lu/ha 36.98

Less than 1.4lu/ha 25.60

Agrimoney compensation

Suckler cow

premium 14.46 5.78

BSP – steers 10.42 4.15

BSP – bulls 12.94 5.16

Extensification (1lu) 4.44

Extensification (1.4lu) 3.08

Amounts in balance column going out now