DAIRY retail prices are ‘sickening and disheartening’ for farmers according to a union leader, as milk unit prices are on the decline.
The milk price decline comes just months after the supermarkets were accused of devaluing the price of milk by making reductions to retain a competitive edge, by prominent dairy activists.
Milk prices per unit are on the decline, partially due to the ‘spring production flush’ which means supply is outstripping demand, but experts think the retail price wars are also having an impact.
David Brookes, Staffordshire chairman of the National Farmers Union (NFU) and farmer at Lower Loxley Farm said: “Last week I received a text message from my dairy, of intent to reduce my milk price by 1.27p per litre with effect from four days' time.
“This announcement wasn't unexpected and in all probability won't be the last.
“The farming press had for weeks been talking about the downward trend in dairy commodities.
“Although there is still strong demand from existing and emerging markets, there still isn't the capacity to deal with the spring excess by all processors and the volume of milk for the market to absorb becomes too great.
“Some milk is being traded at half the value that most farmers are receiving at their farm gates, especially where alternative production capacity is unavailable.
“Any farmer dealing with a milk broker at the present time could be very worried about their milk income .
“Unlike two years ago when we started the #SOS Dairy campaign, when milk prices were threatened with a whole 4p price reduction over two months, the major retailers are claiming they are paying the market price for their milk.
“For most farmers the retail price of fresh milk is just so sickening and disheartening.
“Two years ago the situation would have been so different if the market had been properly working in the UK beforehand, which is unlike the situation today, where we have started to be able to gain from the previously strong market place of past months.
“This has weakened but will, in the fullness of time, re-strengthen.”
It was revealed in March supermarket giant Tesco is selling four pint cartons of milk at £1, a reduction of 39 pence on the original price.
The Co-Operative, which has a branch in the Maltings, followed suit cutting the prices of its one-pint and two-pint milk, from 50p to 45p and from 89p to 85p.