Scottish/Axis company in First trading week

By FWi staff

FIRST Milk, the company born from the merger of Axis and Scottish Milk, started trading this week.

The 400m business markets over 2.2bn litres of milk from 4500 members, about 18% of Great Britains raw milk market.

The company expects to expand quickly – 80 new members, largely direct suppliers, joined last month.

Farmers should work together to increase co-op size, says chairman John Duncan.

The four leading processors have about 80% of the raw milk market, and national, farmer-owned organisations are needed to negotiate more effectively. Growth will also drive down costs, and ease moves into processing.

First Milk will focus on farmers needs, rather than those of shareholders, says Mr Duncan.

“This means a determination to ensure the market returns which we negotiate allow sustainability and reinvestment.”

David Dugdale, vice-chairman of the northern-based Association of Dairy Farmers, which represents 2000 direct sellers, will join First Milk, along with 174 other ACC producers. All gave notice to quit their direct supply contracts from October.

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Bruton Knowles

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