21 June 2002

Small co-op lifts litre price

SUPPLYING milk to a small co-op can boost milk price by 1p/litre, which has added £60,000 to the bottom line for one large Gloucestershire-based dairy unit.

Milk Direct has managed to pay a milk price 1p/litre above local competitors, said the firms Amanda Huggett, at the Dairy Solutions 2002 conference. "Our costs have been kept down by limiting expansion to avoid dilution of the better milk price."

Transport costs are also kept low by having an average on-farm collection of 7200 litres. This is possible because the small number of herds in the co-op each produce more than 1m litres a year.

"In addition, all members are now farm assured, with full traceability, which helps attract more lucrative contracts, such as supplying milk for the manufacture of baby food."

Convinced of the benefits a small co-op can offer, Kemble Farms joined Milk Direct, said its herd manager, David Ball. "The extra penny has proved useful, adding an extra £60,000 to income." He believed larger co-ops could not reward larger dairy units.

Milk Direct also operated an ordering service called Dairy Services, said Miss Huggett. "This gives members more time to manage cows while we secure wholesale accounts for semen and minerals. Foot trimming services are also available, helping to save time and hassle." &#42

Small co-ops offer more rewards for larger dairy units, says David Ball.