Milk processors reveal producers’ cut of price hikes

Milk processors have started to reveal how much money will be passed back to dairy farmers after recent increases in retail milk prices.

Robert Wiseman Dairies took the lead on Tuesday (10 April) when it announced two increases in the price it pays for milk.

All of Wiseman’s 750 suppliers will receive 19.18p/litre for the milk they produced last month, an increase of 0.43p/litre. The processor will increase its April milk price a further 0.20p/litre to 19.38p/litre.

Graeme Jack, Wiseman’s communications director, said the increase was due to an agreement for their customers to pay more to cover increases in on-farm and operational costs.

Despite criticism over the size of the increase, Mr Jack said Wiseman was offering a higher price than its competitors. The processor was “fairly hopeful” about offering a further increase in May, he added.

Tom Hind, NFU chief dairy advisor, said he hoped other processors would announce a similar increase soon. “We might have expected something a bit more substantial, but we are pleased they are back-paying from 1 March.”

Wiseman was the first processor to increase its milk price after supermarkets increased the retail price of milk in early March. Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s all lifted the price and told processors to pass money back to farmers.

Arthur Reeves, Dairy Crest’s milk purchasing director, said Dairy Crest Direct producers who supply Sainsbury’s will receive the full 1.3p/litre increase announced by the supermarket last month.

The processor was in talks with its other customers to get the milk price increased, he added.

An Arla spokeswoman said it hoped to make an announcement within the next week.

Milk processors have started to pass back recent price increases.

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