1 February 2002

Recent weeks have seen much afoot among milk buyers and co-ops, here we round-up some

of the key news reported in farmers weeklys business pages and its web-site

&#42 A small group of producers claim they were forced to sign a financial agreement with Milk Link because they had nowhere else to send their milk. Their lawyers say the co-ops rules are unfair and threaten to issue a petition to wind up the company unless the situation is resolved.

farmers weekly, Dec 21

&#42 Amelca, which expects to open it Derbys processing factory in July, tells producers contracted to supply it from Jan 1 that it has no market for their milk. It was planning to sell milk on the spot market, but hadnt expected prices to dip to 15p/litre.

farmers weekly, Jan 4

&#42 Dairy Crest and First Milk have announced a new joint venture operation in Pembrokeshire to secure the future of the Haverfordwest cheese factory. First Milk has bought a 20% stake in the firm. It will handle over 210m litres of milk a year.

farmers weekly, Jan 11

&#42 Intervention board figures reveal that December production was just above the Charles Holt/farmers weekly profile at almost 1.148bn butterfat-adjusted litres. But, with cumulative production still below profile by 152.5m litres, it seems unlikely the UK will go over quota, says Mr Holt.

farmers weekly, Jan 11

&#42 A number of Milk Link members defend their co-op in the farmers weekly letters pages. They say the aim is to gain fairer prices, by raising capital for processing, and that the majority of members support it. There are plenty of buyers if they wish to give milk away, says one letter.

farmers weekly, Jan 11

&#42 First Milk says it has now been forced to halt the supply of milk (believed to be more than 0.5m litres/day) to Expresss dairies at Liverpool, Nottingham and Wythenshawe, accusing the firm of trying to pressure it into lowering producer prices.

farmers weekly, Jan 11

&#42 Unconfirmed reports of a possible merger between The Milk Group and Zenith begin to circulate. Zenith was said to have about 1.3bn litres on its books, and the Milk Group about 1bn litres, after rapid recent expansion., Jan 12

&#42 The Milk Group and Zenith announce plans to merge. If 1200 Milk Group members and 3000 Zenith members agree, a new business, supplying about 2.4bn litres of milk a year, should be operational from April., Jan 14

&#42 Many milk buyers announce plans to cut milk prices from Jan 1. The Milk Group will cut its price by 1.95p to 17.75p for a standard litre and Zenith will announces a 1p drop to 18.91p. Express Dairies also announces a 0.3p/litre cut to 20p., Jan 15 &#42

Milk price decreases and changes to buyer co-operatives have been amongst the years news so far.


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