Waitrose withdraws milk scheme bonus

2 June 2000

Waitrose withdraws milk scheme bonus

DAIRY farmers supplying Wait-roses Select Farm Milk scheme are to lose the premium paid by the retailer at the end of the week.

The scheme, launched in January to help reflect the cost of production, has cost Waitrose about £100,000. Its 85 suppliers receive a bonus, thought to be worth about 0.25p/litre, on top of Unigates Sovereign Status price.

Seasonality bonuses

"We have continued the payments for as long as we felt necessary," says a spokeswoman for Waitrose. "In June, seasonality bonuses start so farmers will no longer need the extra support. We will assess the situation again when those payments stop and will do what we can."

Much bigger falls are highlighted in the latest price table, the first of the new milk year. The value of our standard ex-farm litre is down typically by 1-1.5p/litre depending on the company. This, together with additional seasonality deductions of 0.5-3p/litre means more than half the buyers listed paid less than 15p/litre in April.

The table also illustrates the gradual erosion of the "Milk Marque plus" price paid by direct buyers. Express and Unigate in particular are now paying little more than Axis and Milk Link. Although that is partly due to heavier seasonality deductions, the gap has closed by up to 1.5p/litre compared with this time last year.

Zenith, the third MM successor, is putting less emphasis on seasonality, so appears in the top half of the table this month.

Unfortunately, ACC has refused to participate in the latest survey. If you are supplying this company, or any other, we need your help. Our table is supported by pricing information supplied confidentially by farmers across the country. Please write to Stephen Bates, Wye College, Ashford, Kent TN25 5AH; (01233- 813555 x404; fax 01233-813498; e-mail s.bates@wye.ac.uk). &#42

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