Tesco’s milk price move is too late for many producers

Tesco’s decision to offer a price of 22p/litre to about 850 dedicated farmer suppliers has been welcomed by the industry, but the move comes too late for many producers.

Leading Scottish producer, Dean Anderson of Mayne Farm, Elgin, Moray, who won the award for the top dairy herd in the UK in 1999 and 2000 with an average yield of 12,500 litres, said the rise in milk price had come too late to reverse his decision to quit dairying.

He will be selling 650 pedigree Holstein cows and young stock at a two day sale on the farm on May 22 and 23.

“The price rise is long overdue and will bring some much-needed confidence back into the industry,” said Mr Anderson.

“With high yields and bonuses for quality, our average return last year was 20-21p/litre so we weren’t losing money. But we were simply not making enough for all the time and effort which goes into producing milk. Anybody on the basic price must be losing money hand over fist.”

Aberdeenshire producer Charles Marshall, Concraig, Kintore, who is also selling his 400 cows, also welcomed the price rise but said it was not enough to tempt him back.

“It would have made a difference if we had known six months ago this was coming up,” he said.

“A 5p/litre rise might have been enough to keep us in. But we’re keeping our young stock and only moth-balling the dairy, so we might be back.”

Farmers Weekly believes the Tesco announcement is very positive. Read why on our Food For Thought Blog and add your own comment at the bottom.

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