Raw milk prices set to follow product values?

29 June 2001

Raw milk prices set to follow product values?

By Robert Harris

information to help sellers and farmers achieve milk prices more closely aligned to dairy markets will be available from this autumn, says the Milk Development Council.

The MDCs Milk Market Information Service should have been launched in April. The delay is being blamed on foot-and-mouth, but council chairman Brian Peacock says the service will be fully operational in time for the European Dairy Farming Event in September.

"The outbreak prevented council members from meeting, and we have also had some recruitment problems," says Mr Peacock.

"We now have staff in place, we are putting a web-site together and we are finalising contracts with people who will supply us with costings information."

The service will provide clear information on factors affecting supply and demand of milk and milk products to help raw milk prices track product values more closely.

Industry soundings and a recent MDC report on milk pricing suggested that farm-gate prices risked being removed from true market values for products.

Although farmers returns have risen since then, the fear remains that price cuts in dairy markets affect farm-gate values much faster than price rises. Better information should put milk sellers on a more equal footing with the big buyers, says the MDC.

Sign contracts

Six tenders to supply information for the new service were received in February. It is understood that three parties will sign contracts in the near future.

Information will be available through MDC communications, via the internet and through the Press. This will include UK,

European and global market information, supply costs, milk production figures, milk usage statistics and ex-farm prices, with full analysis explaining the effect these components have on the market.

"We hope to be running the web-site on a trial basis sometime in August," says Mr Peacock.

The service will be free to all levy payers. Although no firm figure is available, the MDC is believed to have spent about £100,000 on the project.

&#8226 Many milk prices were hit by big seasonality deductions last month, causing a shuffling in our tables rankings. However, Lancashire Dairies 1.85p/litre rise is now included, propelling the company to the top spot.

United Milk paid 0.6p/litre more than in April, taking it into third place, though this is somewhat flattered by its rivals seasonality cuts. Golden Vale raised its price by 0.49p/litre. &#42

See more