Farmer Focus: An apology from an Arla farmer

I firstly would like to apologise as an Arla farmer/owner to all my fellow milk producers. At the moment, I feel embarrassed that our co-op has driven the UK milk price down faster than any other processor.

Prices have dropped more than 6p/litre in three months. The March price has reduced by 2.16p/litre, taking the manufacturing litre price to 27.11p and liquid is down 2.08p to 26.08p/litre.

I can’t help feeling Arla is more focused on world domination at the moment than a sustainable milk price after it announced more than £450m of global investment.

Calving has slowed down after a manic December/January, which will help curtail any extra spring flush.

See also: Three consecutive drops as Arla slashes March milk price

We hope to introduce grass by mid-March, if I can manage to shift the geese and 50 swans that have been with us all winter.

I also believe they belong to the Queen, so I wondered if she would pay rent for their stay?

This has been our driest week since July. Long may it continue – draining, ploughing and drilling can start.

We are trying a new wheat variety called Belepi which has a drilling date range from October to the end of March, so I hope it does OK, as it would suit our very variable weather pattern.

I had the pleasure of attending the NFU AGM, which is an excellent networking event.  

Mr Gove’s speech was 20 minutes of fluff and two minutes of detail. It is so frustrating getting any guidance about where we are going regarding hard/soft Brexit and the customs union/single market.  

It is such a pity politicians need to be involved with their playground politics.  

On a positive note, the government is getting the message of the importance of UK food production, which I believe is down to continued lobbying from all our unions.

Lastly, I congratulate Minette Batters on her new role as president. She is a great ambassador for our industry, with a passion and determination to make a difference. I also give many thanks to Meurig Raymond for his great leadership and many years of service.

Gary Mitchell milks 800 cows, with heifers reared on a local farm. Gary zero grazes 80ha of the 195ha he owns. He is vice-chairman for NFU Scotland.