DC holds milk price

DAIRY CREST’S decision to hold prices until May suggest firm milk prices this summer, industry figures claim.

The company had warned its March and April 0.3p/litre price increases could come under pressure because of its lost 170m-litre contract with Tesco.

But milk purchasing director Arthur Reeves said: “During April we have had open discussions with our milk suppliers who recognise the pressure we are under.

“However, we are fully aware that any decision by us to reduce milk prices now could have an adverse impact on the delicate balance existing in the industry.”

Arla Foods UK and Robert Wiseman Dairies have still not released their April prices.

But sources cast doubt on significant rises on top of their respective increases of 0.75p/litre and 0.9p/litre for March milk.

David Handley of Farmers for Action said DC’s decision was fantastic, made after immense pressure from the FFA and the NFU.

However, he was expecting improvements from Arla and Wiseman. “We want all of the money upfront. Whatever they’ve recovered from the market is ours.”

This month’s milk price review reflects increases from Wiseman (0.9p/litre), Arla Foods (0.75p/litre), Dairy Crest (0.3p/litre), Dairy Farmers of Britain (0.3p/litre), First Milk (0.3p/litre) and Westbury Dairies (0.16p/litre).

Milk Link cut 0.12p/litre (applicable until Feb 2006) to cover a shortfall in expected profits.