7 August 1998


MILK Marques bullish stance in announcing that it will not be cornered into accepting lower prices after only token bidding by big dairy companies in its July selling round should be welcomed by producers.

This may also help stem the flow of members. Judging by recent anecdotal comments from producers, many have – or are seriously contemplating – jumping ship for a better price, but this can only weaken producers voices in a cut-throat industry.

Attempts to raise the indicative milk price by up to 2p/litre for the July selling round, remove the 90% selling rule and change some of its contracts as a sweetener to buyers must hearten hard-pressed producers who have helplessly watched the price spiral downwards.

Predictably, the Dairy Industry Federation saw the move as radical and unwarranted. But isnt it time that producers took a stance against companies who have continued to announce good profits to shareholders while producers have been forced further and further into debt?

But industry consultants have warned producers not to bank on a 2p/litre rise – the headline figure announced by Milk Marque before its July round started. They reckon an increase of 1.2p/litre might be nearer the mark, and warn that any increase wont be seen on milk cheques until at least October – halving its effect on the current years average milk price.

That means its still imperative to reduce costs. This Update looks at late summer tips for getting more from grazed grass. Welfare and farm assurance continue to be hot topics, and we look at disease control and footcare, as well as how to ensure you meet your buyers requirements for feed storage. In the current climate, it pays to cut costs and ensure you can claim any bonus that your buyer is offering.

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