Video: Farmers stage night of multiple milk trolley protests

Groups of farmers stripped supermarket shelves dry of milk in a night of protests against low prices.

Farmers came out in force across the country on Monday (3 August) to take part in the Milk Trolley Challenge, which sees milk removed from supermarket shelves.

Trolleys piled high with cartons of milk are then wheeled to the checkout and dumped.

See also: Farmers ramp up milk and lamb protests

On Monday night (3 August), farmers targeted supermarket stores in Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, Wem and Shawbury in Shropshire, Rochdale in Lancashire, Ayrshire, in Scotland and Coleraine, in Northern Ireland.

Click on the video below to play:

Dairy farmer Bryce Robinson, 28, said: “We ran into the shop and cleared the shelves of all the milk.

“An anonymous person donated £500 for us to buy the milk. We took it to the front entrance and told shoppers it was free. We asked them to make a donation to charity.”

In total, £220 was raised for the Ayrshire Hospice. Farmers also distributed between 40-50 four-pint cartons of the remaining milk to two homeless charities, a residential home and a local hospice.

“The public were very understanding,” added Mr Robinson. “They were really behind us. It was a really positive result.”

Mr Robinson farms 120 milking cows in Meuchline, Ayrshire, receives 15p/litre, but said it costs him 24p/litre to produce. 

He said he was losing £200/day to produce milk at current prices.

Milk protest in Ayr 3 August 2015

©David Murray

Many of the latest protests were filmed on mobile phones and shared on social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter.

In a statement, NFU Scotland said it gave “strong assistance” to the protests in Ayshire.

NFUS president Allan Bowie urged consumers to buy Scottish or British products. He also called for farmers to be paid a reasonable price for their investment and efforts.

“It was evident from last night’s demonstration that there was strong support from local people for achieving this,” said Mr Bowie.

“Farmers are in a position of desperation and this latest action is a reflection of the current dialogue that is not working and the position farmers are now in that they feel they have been left with little option.”

A group of younger-generation farmers in south Gloucestershire started the Milk Trolley Challenge last Thursday (30 July).

Farmers took dairy cow "Hoops Flower" from Hopps Holsteins to the protest at Morrisons in Bideford on Sunday morning.

Farmers took dairy cow ‘Hoops Flower’ from Hopps Holsteins to the protest at Morrisons in Bideford on Sunday morning.

Three stores in Yate – Tesco, Morrisons and a Lidl – were targeted. A video of the trolley dash in Morrisons, recorded on a mobile phone and posted on Facebook, has gone viral on social media.

On Saturday (1 August), protests also took place in the Chippenham/Melksham area of Wiltshire and in Bideford and Bude in Devon. Outside the supermarkets during the protests in Devon, farmers also raised £1,280 for the Devon Air Ambulance Trust.

Becky Robertson, a dairy farmer who took part in the first protests in south Gloucestershire, said the protests had achieved their objectives.

“Personally, I think the Milk Trolley Challenge has been amazing,” she told Farmers Weekly.

“It has sparked a lot of talk, which is what farmers need. I see a lot more other areas of the country carrying this on.”

A group of farmers pictured outside the Asda superstore in Chippenham, Wiltshire, during the milk prices protest on Saturday

A group of farmers pictured outside the Asda superstore in Chippenham, Wiltshire, during the milk prices protest on Saturday.

A group of farmers targeted two Morrisons stores in Ayr and Kilmarnock on Tuesday night.

But Ms Robertson said talks were ongoing among about new and different waves of protest to raise awareness with the public about the desperate plight of dairy and sheep farmers.

“We feel we might need to go at this in a different direction,” she added. “We are doing this for our future. We want to do something with video, but with a different theme to it.”

Ms Robertson, whose family has 100 milking cows, said the past 12 months had been a “constant struggle”.

“It has been very tough,” she said. “Last year, we invested heavily in robotic milkers. But since then, the milk price has kept tumbling.

“Arla has just knocked another 0.8p/litre off our milk contract to 23.01p/litre for 3 August and there is talk of another penny coming off maybe in September.

“We are already producing milk at below the cost of production. We are trying to do the best for the cows, to keep them healthy and looked after.

“To me, they are more like pets than cows – they are part of the family. To destroy that would be such a shame.”

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