6 September 2002



PREDICTING a milk price even a month ahead seems a distant memory, making planning any business strategy difficult for producers. But plans for the future must be made by individual producers in order to survive the current downturn.

With so many milk buyers and the effect of Europe on commodity prices, it is difficult to say what prices producers can expect at any time in the future. The recent problems with Amelca also highlight a potential lack of security for producers. But to gain an insight into where prices and the industry is heading and whats needed for a successful future, be sure to attend the Spotlight on Profit forums at the Dairy Event on Wednesday Sept 18 and Thursday Sept 19.

As in previous years speakers will give a short address, followed by time for questions and discussion. They will take place in Exhibition Hall 2, starting at 11am on each day.

Visitors to the first forum at 11am will hear an address from MP Elliot Morley, junior DEFRA minister. He will be followed by Terrig Morgan, NFU Milk and Dairy Products Committee chairman (see right).

Even though foot-and-mouth is behind us, another cattle disease – bovine TB – is still causing concern on many farms. About 2800 cattle farms are currently under restrictions and there is a huge backlog in testing animals for disease -which has been on the increase in recent years.

But how will TB be bought under control? John Bourne who heads the Krebs triplet trial currently underway, will explain whats possible and whats not in terms of future control of the disease (see right).

Final session

The final session on Wednesday will be by John Duncan the chairman of the Federation of Milk Groups, which represents co-ops and direct supply groups throughout the UK. It claims its members account for 80% of the total milk produced in the UK.

Thursdays forums are kicked off by Jim Begg director general of the Dairy Industry Alliance (DIAL), formed in March when the Dairy Industry Federation and National Dairymens Association merged. It has 1300 members who include processors and doorstep delivery operators. The 64 members previously forming the DIF account for 90% of liquid milk processing in the UK.

When the new organisation was launched Mr Begg said that DIAL would be working more closely with milk producers.

"It will be moving away from the more confrontational issues of the past. There is now the opportunity to move forward on common issues." These could include closer collaboration over supply chain issues, and promotional and educational schemes, he said.

Another important issue which will face producers shortly is new legislation on fallen stock. This will be addressed by Simon Mead of the MLC. The final speaker is Lord Haskins (see right). &#42

The Spotlight on Profit sponsors, HBSC Agriculture, The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers, MDC, DRC and FARMERS WEEKLY, welcome all event visitors to attend the forums which will take place in Exhibition Hall 2 from 11am.

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