Price rise is both good and bad, says Steve Brown

During a recent cow classification appointment the usual grumblings of the farmer regarding the state of the industry were interrupted by a text message proclaiming that by Christmas I would be receiving an extra two pence a litre for my milk, with most of that increase starting from 1 October.

This gave the classifier a lifeline in justifying his existence in an industry on the up, and waivered my own mood towards our recent expansion as more positive, as to be honest, there have been times when moments of doubt have more than crept in – they have come barging through the door.

I would have described my moods as up and down like the milk price, but since the latter is only on the up it seems fairer to describe my moods as up and down like a bride’s nightie, which, if nothing else, gives the editorial staff something to think about.

Back to my milk price increase – a subsequent letter dampened the buoyant news a little, explaining that milk commanding that price must be whiter than white, and if not, the penalties incurred have also increased. The farmer-milk buyer relationship is like any marriage in that you don’t get something for nothing.

I can’t quote my standard litre, as that letter has been mislaid. But while it is a useful benchmark I think it masks what individuals get paid quite considerably. Sharon has banished me from disturbing Downtown Abbey as I write this, a programme which I believe indicates, like the milk price table, the difference between those upstairs (the gentry on supermarket contracts) and those downstairs (the non-aligned contracts in the servants’ quarters). I’m not sure where I fit in, but back to being positive; if I achieve the top-quality milk for the top price I will have recouped by Christmas what I have been deducted this year in milk balancing charges.

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