Dairy Crest disappoints

DAIRY CREST has announced milk price rises for March and April but is also warning that some of the increase could be short-lived.

Arthur Reeves, milk purchasing director, said members of supply group Dairy Crest Direct on the firm’s standard liquid contact would get an extra 0.3p/litre for milk supplied in March and at least another 0.3p/litre on April milk.

NFU dairy board chairman Gwyn Jones said: “I am not so bothered about the 0.3p/litre in March but 0.6p/litre for April is not where we  thought they would be.

“I don’t see why it is so low. We will be looking very closely to make sure all the money is being passed back to farmers.”

However, Mr Reeves said Dairy Crest had been totally transparent with its suppliers.

“Our prices reflect the mix of our business. We are currently buying a high proportion of milk on which so far it has not been possible to increase prices.”

Prices for DC Direct members would come under pressure again in May because that was when the full impact of the loss of its 170m-litre Tesco contract would be felt, added Mr Reeves.

He said it was not “inconceivable” that the April increase might be reversed, with only a “remote possibility”  that prices would stay the same.

Farmers for Action leader David Handley said: “I am pretty disgusted. They could quite easily have recovered more.

“Consumers are paying an extra 3.5p/litre but a major UK processor can only pass back 0.3p/litre.”