ANOTHER MILK BUYER JOINS THE HIGHER PRICE CLUB

FIRST MILK is the latest buyer to increase milk prices. The co-op has followed Dairy Farmers of Britain with a 0.3p/litre rise for March. Chief executive John Duncan said he was looking for more cash from some liquid suppliers and the cheese market. The move means the only large buyers not to have given an indication of March prices are Milk Link – which maintains that it is not benefiting from recent hikes in the retail value of fresh milk – and Dairy Crest. Milk buying director Arthur Reeves said discussions with customers were ongoing and he would be announcing prices for both March and April by the end of the month.

Dairy Crest has issued an upbeat statement before its year end on Mar 31. Despite tough conditions in the liquid market, chief executive Drummond Hall said pre-tax profits would be in line with market expectations of 84m, just 1m down on last year. Cheese prices had held up well, he added.