By Philip Clarke, Europe editor

BRITISH milk producers have made it three in a row as the worst paid in Europe, according to German statistics agency ZMP.

The agencys annual review of EU milk prices shows returns to UK dairy farmers slipped another 3% in 2000 to Euro26.22/100kg (16.9ppl), as the strong Pound and weak selling position of many farmers took its toll.

German, Dutch and Belgian farmers did best, enjoying a 5%-6% income gain.

“The high price of milk powders was very significant in these countries, and cheese prices also started to recover,” said Erhard Richarts of ZMP.

Overall, EU milk values firmed by 2% last year to Euro29.51/100kg (19ppl). Mr Richarts expects this trend to continue this year.

With the Pound now more stable against the Euro, October and April milk price increases in the bag and milk supplies cut by foot-and-mouth, Mr Richarts expects UK producers to earn more in 2001.

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