Barber’s Cheesemakers announces September milk price rise

Somerset-based cheesemaker Barber’s has announced a 1p/litre increase on its standard milk price, taking payments to 28p/litre from 1 September.

Half of the increase is down to an uplift in the rates for butterfat (BF) and protein (PR) percentages. The other half is down to savings from a switch to every-other-day milk collections.

The 28p/litre figure will be achieved by producers hitting 4.1% BF and 3.28% PR.

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Barber’s pointed out that, when put against the rates for these components, its suppliers would be hitting 28.8p/litre.

It also said that producers could see prices break the 30p/litre mark if September 2019 levels of 4.48% BF and 3.54% PR were repeated this year.

With components at this level the new price would be 30.20p/litre before any positive seasonality payments.

The price increase will be available to all of the company’s 150 farmer suppliers in Somerset and neighbouring Dorset.

In a letter to farmers, head of milk supply operations Michael Masters said the price move reflected a steady improvement in cheddar markets this year.

Retail and domestic sales in the first half of the year had outstripped foodservice sector markets which had been badly hit by coronavirus lockdown measures, said Mr Masters.

However, the upsurge in retail sales meant cheese stocks had tightened, he said, attributing the company’s performance to a strategy of developing a broad customer base.

“This has enabled us to retain a stable milk price throughout this period and to provide our first milk price increase of 2020 to support our dedicated Somerset and Dorset dairy farmers,” he said.