MILK Marque is staying tight-lipped about how it plans to sell milk produced from October onwards.

The co-op had intended to hold private talks with individual buyers to close deals, in much the same way as it concluded the much-protracted January selling round.

But big buyers would not agree to this. “Individual deals have been knocked on the head. We are waiting for MM to come up with another deal,” says a spokesman for Express Dairies.

Unigate is also waiting. “We have no details as yet,” says the companys Brian Pocock.

MM admits time is short, and expects to move soon. “We are looking at all the options,” says a spokeswoman. These, she adds, include a return to the old selling system, a revamped version of it, or a new process.

But consultant Mike Bessey suggests the delay may be doing MM members a favour since the intervention milk price equivalent (the floor price) has recovered slightly to just under 18ppl after the recent strengthening of the Euro.

Even so, producers could face a 1ppl price cut, he adds. But, with dairy companies paying MM about 20ppl on average for the current half year, he suspects it might be less. “I would have thought Milk Marque has a strong case to push for IMPE plus.”