First Milk holds post-Brexit price, launches 13th payment

Undeterred by Brexit uncertainty, the UK’s largest British farmer-owned dairy co-operative has held its milk price for April.

First Milk also confirmed the value of its new 13th payment, which will drop in 2020.

See also: Top tips on dealing with tight cashflow as dairy margins tighten

The co-op’s 800 members will still receive 27.5p/litre for standard liquid litres of 4% butterfat and 3.3% protein. Manufacturing litres of 4.2% butterfat and 3.4% protein will be worth 28.43p/litre.

In addition to the second consecutive price hold, First Milk has confirmed its new 13th payment, first announced in July last year.

The bonus will be paid to producers who are “fully invested” in the company and who hit their capital targets.

Payments, worth 0.25p/litre, will be accrued month-on-month and will be paid out in April 2020.

To a 1m litre/year dairy farmer, the 13th payment would be worth £2,500.

Despite the payment not being made for 13 months, First Milk vice-chairman Jim Baird said the milk buyer had been able to deliver additional returns in an uncertain market.

“This additional member premium payment rewards our members for their loyalty, and we remain focused on continuing to develop our business to deliver long-term prosperity for our members,” added Mr Baird.

NFU Scotland’s milk committee chairman, John Smith, said it was a positive sign that First Milk is now on a better track and has a more positive outlook, following the company asking producers to prop it up financially just a few years ago.

“A number of First Milk member meetings are taking place shortly and I would encourage First Milk suppliers to attend to hear first-hand from the company about its plans for the future,” added Mr Smith.

GDT revival

The Global Dairy Trade, an indicator of world market sentiment, enjoyed another strong result, driven by the continued positive performance of whole milk powder (WMP) and cheddar.

Since the start of December 2018, the GDT index has seen seven value increases following 13 consecutive falls dating back to May 2018.

The recent resurgence has seen the index’s value increase by 24% in the past three months.

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