Morrisons ups farmgate milk price – for now

Supermarket chain Morrisons has unveiled a 5p per litre increase in its farmgate milk price – saying it will review the position after three months.

The supermarket made the announcement on Saturday (21 July) following another night of milk price protests by dairy farmers.

In a statement it said: “Morrisons will pay an additional 2p-a-litre premium for every litre of milk that it buys.

“There will also be an additional support payment equivalent to 3p-a-litre because of the extreme weather that is currently affecting farmers.

“These payments will last from August through to the end of October when they will be reviewed.”

Morrisons commercial director Richard Hodgson said: “We recognise the exceptional pressure on farmers currently and continue to aim to support all farmers not just those that have dedicated contracts.

“The recent announcements by our processors will reduce the payment to farmers for the milk we sell and therefore we are announcing payments that negate their impact.”

The announcement followed a second night of protests by farmers which saw two dairies blockaded in the Midlands.

Co-ordinated by Farmers For Action, hundreds of farmers blockaded the entrances to the Robert Wiseman plant at Droitwich, Worcestershire, and a plant at Foston, Derbyshire.

Farm leaders welcomed the Morrisons announcement.

NFU president Peter Kendall said: “We’re really pleased to see Morrisons response to the calls from a coalition of farming groups to reverse the announced price reductions and address the exceptional costs dairy farmers are now facing.

“We need a long-term solution that addresses the need for a sustainable raw milk supply into the future.

“It’s now critical that other retailers and major buyers of milk respond to the responsible steps Morrisons is taking.”

Morrisons said the latest increase would take the premium it paid to farmers to 6p per litre because it already paid a 1p premium for milk.

The latest increase would be spread across all non-aligned farmers in its processors’ pools from 1 August.

The retailer said it was also looking at a “longer term solution” to volatile milk prices and would now “accelerate this programme”.

Earlier, the Co-operative Group said it was increasing its farmgate milk price, bringing the total price to 29p per litre for farmers within the Co-operative Dairy Group (CDG).

Co-operative Food chief executive Steve Murrells said: “We have a track record of supporting British farmers, and we recognise the importance of ensuring a long-term, sustainable future for British dairy farmers.

“We have been in continual discussions on this issue with the National Farmers Union and we have listened to their concerns.

“We are taking this action to help alleviate the immediate pressures that farmers within the CDG are facing. Going forward, we are committed to finding a supply model that is sustainable for the long-term future of our dairy farmers.”