First Milk raises August milk price by 0.8p/litre

First Milk is increasing its August farmgate milk price by 0.8p/litre to 28p for a standard liquid litre (4% butterfat, 3.3% protein).

The rise takes the manufacturing standard litre (4.2% butterfat and 3.4% protein) price to 28.95p/litre.

This is the second consecutive monthly price increase for the co-op’s 900 producers, following a seven-month run of drops and holds.

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The move follows Arla’s announcement earlier this week of a 0.88p/litre boost for August, taking its standard manufacturing litre price to 31.38p/litre and its standard liquid litre (4% butterfat and 3.3% protein) up 0.85p/litre to 30.16p/litre.

First Milk vice-chairman and farmer director Jim Baird said the increase would go some way towards helping to offset the additional costs caused by the continued hot weather.

“There have been two key changes in recent weeks affecting the dairy markets – the hot and dry weather is bringing some uncertainty over UK and European milk production and, although still relatively strong, markets have shown signs of weakening in the past six weeks,” he said.

£6.5m investment

First Milk has also announced it will be investing more than £6.5m over the next two years in its Haverfordwest Creamery to further increase cheese production capacity and site efficiency.

The initial stage of this project, which has already started, will run until March 2019 and sees investment of about £4.76m in new silos, buildings, pasteurisers and milk separators, as well as new heat recovery equipment.

“This exciting development demonstrates our commitment to our Welsh milk processing,” said First Milk chief executive Shelagh Hancock,

“Over the past year we have been focused on increasing capacity at our processing sites at Haverfordwest and Lake District Creamery through improved productivity and efficiency to ensure we can effectively balance seasonal fluctuations in our own milk pool and also meet growing customer demand.

“On the back of increased customer demand for our award-winning cheese, we are also encouraging our members to increase milk production and actively recruiting additional farmers to supply us with milk.”

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