Milk price warning as Welsh farmers struggle

Dairy farmers in Wales face a long and unprofitable winter unless milk prices are increased to take soaring input costs into account.

NFU Cymru said massive rises in feed, fuel and fertiliser prices meant milk buyers had to pay producers a more sustainable milk price if their businesses were to survive in the long term.

Speaking at the Pembrokeshire Show on Monday, county chairman David James said the gap between what farmers received for milk and their cost of production had continued to widen.

With dairy rations up between 20% and 30% on the year, ammonium nitrate prices up 50% and agricultural fuel up by nearly a quarter over the same period, Mr James said it was vital producers were paid a fairer milk price.

“What makes it all the more annoying is that, based on market conditions, we should be receiving around 32-33p a litre for our milk, rather than the UK farmgate average of 26.61p a litre,” he added.

“This price, based purely on what the market can and should be paying producers for their milk, is the difference between profit and loss.”

Mr James said farmers’ weak position in the dairy supply chain could only be addressed if their negotiating and bargaining power was increased.

“The evidence overwhelmingly points to a need to build in fair and equitable trading conditions for farmers within the supply chain.

“I would hope that milk purchasers could see for themselves the inequalities that currently exist within the dairy industry. Frankly, with a few exceptions, their actions historically and so far this year show their complete disregard for our plight.

“This is why we see the full implementation of the European Commission Dairy Package as a crucial starting point to help us address the failure of the marketplace to deliver a fair return for Welsh dairy farmers.

“We will use every opportunity we have over the course of the show to get our message across to our political representatives.”