Worst time to lose a milk cheque, says DFoB member

The collapse of Dairy Farmers of Britain and the of loss of May’s milk cheque “couldn’t have come at a worse time”, says one dairy farmer.

Talk about the demise of DFoB with other producers on our forums

Read Phil Clarke’s Business Blog on how the banks should treat DFoB

Andy Guy milks 110 Holsteins at Thorney Abbey Farm, Southwell, Nottinghamshire. He is a Dairy Farmers of Britain member and vice-chairman of the NFU’s dairy board.

“It was not unexpected but it’s disappointing that the outcome should be the worst scenario possible. Everyone was hoping they’d be able to at least salvage something.

“We’ve almost certainly lost out milk cheque for May and the first few days of June. That’s worth about £7000 to my business. Fortunately it’s not one of our biggest milk cheques but rent is due at the end of June, we’ve got silage costs to meet and contractors to pay, too. Lots of bills fall due at this time of year.”

“We’ve still had no information on milk price but at least the receivers say they plan to continue collecting milk and we will get paid something. Like everyone else I’m looking at my alternatives.”

However, Mr Guy admitted he had been forced to write off the “tens of thousands” of pounds he had invested in the co-op. “We hope they plan to sell DFoB as a going concern, but my impression is that any sale could just cover the bank debt.”

He said dairy farmers worst affected would be in parts of the country where there was no immediate alternative milk buyer. “I have heard of one producer ringing round and finding no-one to buy his milk. The only option he will have left will be to get out of milk production.”

Tenant farmers with rents falling due would be badly hit, said Mr Guy, particularly those with substantial borrowings who could be refused further credit. “Producers can only try to remain calm and consider their options carefully. The NFU is working hard with DFoB and other milk buyers.”

Mr Guy said he would be attending the meeting with DFoB’s receiver in Stoke-on-Trent tomorrow (6 June)

DFoB member? Distressed or troubled about what the news might mean for your business? Don’t suffer in silence – www.farmcrisisnetwork.org.uk