5 July 2002

Warning over milk price drop

EXPRESS Dairies will drop the price it pays for ex-farm milk by 1.25p/litre from July 7 unless Dairy Crest and Robert Wiseman Dairies reverse their recent 1.25p/litre cuts on milk destined for supermarket shelves.

Express will hold off implementing the cut until July 15, says chief executive, Neil Davidson. "We want to give other companies time to put their prices back up. But we cannot remain uncompetitive if they do not."

Jonathan Ovens, chairman of farmer group Express Milk Partnership, said there was no sound commercial reason why the other firms had dropped their prices. He believed Express was now feeling the pressure from retailers.

"If our price goes down, Arla will follow suit, and this will all put pressure on the co-ops, too. I hope all of us producers can persuade Dairy Crest and Wiseman to raise their prices again." &#42