Watch underpayment on milk cheques

Farmers have been urged to check their milk cheques after several dairy producers in Worcestershire discovered significant underpayments from Dairy Crest over the past six months.

The farmers, who wish to remain anonymous, found their end-of-month milk statements did not correlate with the milk receipts left on collection.

The discrepancies ranged from 2000 litres, worth £370, to 25,000 litres, worth £4625.

“I don’t know of many businesses, farms or not, that would be happy to lose anywhere from £370 to £4625 per month just because the purchaser is not clear on what they have collected,” said a spokesman for the farmers.

One farmer said his statement was missing 8500 litres in January and 18,000 litres in February.

“There were no decent excuses for it, and the whole issue remains:

What is being done about it?”

He urged all farmers to check their statements to ensure that they were getting paid for all their milk.

“We’re not making a lot of money in the dairying industry at the moment, and this is the last thing we need.”

Sinead Noble, a spokeswoman for Dairy Crest, said the company was aware of the problem, which was due to a new computer system and staff changes.

“It is not acceptable and we believe we have now sorted out the problem.

We are absolutely committed to paying for every litre of milk that we collect.”

Olivia Cooper