Alastair Driver of the Farmers Guardian reported earlier this month that the Dairy Coalition – NFU, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland, the Tenant Farmers Association, the Women’s Food and Farming Union and the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers – has asked Farming Minister David Heath to ‘call in’ the 15% of milk buyers failing to implement the voluntary code on milk contracts
NFU chief dairy adviser Robert Newbery said that the greatest resistance was coming from some of ‘big middle ground liquid processors’ who ‘don’t want to know’.
Dairy UK director general Jim Begg said that the approach of the dairy companies had been ‘both responsible and constructive’.
Three days ago Mr Driver showed figures collated by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) indicating that more than 30 farmers quit the industry in April alone in England and Wales. The number of dairy farmers in England and Wales have fallen by more than 40% from more than 18,000 in 2002.
The Kingshay Dairy Manager costings show total purchased feed costs increased by 1.27 pence a litre over the past year, but milk price only went up 0.54ppl.
DairyCo’s recent Farmer Intentions Survey showed that the current average farmgate milk price of around 30-31ppl is lagging behind the AMPE (Actual Milk Price Equivalent) market indicator, currently in excess of 38ppl.
NFU dairy board chairman Mansel Raymond said that if the leaving rate carries on for three months it will be serious: “The milk price has to go higher. The industry now needs that positive signal to move forward to increase production and invest.”
The Independent reports that an announcement on a timetable for plans for a farm in Foston, Derbyshire, stocking 25,000 pigs, is expected later this week. A decision on whether a 1000-cow mega-dairy near Welshpool can go ahead is also expected shortly.
Joyce Watson, Member of the Welsh Assembly for Mid and West Wales, said: “With the full extent of the horsemeat scandal still coming to light, consumers want food they can trace and trust. Industrial-scale farms would be a big step in the wrong direction – bad for cows, bad for farmers, bad for consumers and bad for the environment.”