26 November 2000
Processing splits dairy farmers
by FWi staff
DAIRY farmers at the Royal Smithfield Show are divided over whether it is wise to invest in processing plants as a means of adding value to their milk.
Investing in processing capacity is risky, and not necessarily the way forward for the dairy industry, according to Wiltshire farmer Jonathan Ovens.
Speaking at a Farmers Forum seminar at the Royal Smithfield Show, Mr Ovens said he questioned the need for farmers to invest in additional processing capacity.
“I am very dubious about farmers putting hard-earned money into building up extra capacity,” said Mr Ovens, who sells through the Express Milk Partnership.
“I dont think it is the way forward.”
Selling milk through Express enables farmers to have access to the companys processing capacity, but with no need for additional investment, he said.
But Bill Madders, of the National Farmers Union, said farmers must invest in processing if they are to get a decent price for milk – in his view 25ppl.
Some producers would go down the route of selling to large public limited companies such as Express Dairies, he acknowledged.
“But if we all are going down the Express route we are going to end up with a low price. We need a mix.”