The Müller Direct Premium 2020, which all Müller Direct farmers can opt into, will be available to those who commit to continually improve herd health and welfare standards, and end the practice of euthanising healthy bull calves on-farm.
As part of the plans, Müller Direct farmers are being offered the opportunity to earn an additional payment worth 1.0 pence per litre over the year.
The program will run from 1 January to 31 December, with the 1.0ppl premium based on full compliance by farmers on all four initiatives, which include ending the euthanasia of healthy bull calves on-farm by December 2020.
Also, the firm will launch the Müller Direct Farm Insight Programme, an on-farm health and welfare assessment, which provides benchmarking, advice and potential savings. It will also create the Müller Direct Antibiotic Programme, designed to manage and reduce unnecessary use of antibiotics.
Finally, the National Johne’s Management Plan, will aim to control and eradicate Johne’s, a chronic disease that affects cattle.
The premium will be paid in a lump sum in January 2021, and would be worth £20,000 to a two million litre per annum producer.
Rob Hutchison, milk supply director for Müller Milk & Ingredients, said: “For the industry to move forward, we must continually evolve to ensure we’re aligned with the needs of our customers and consumers.
“We buy a fifth of all milk produced on Britain’s farms, so we’ve got a real opportunity, and responsibility, to encourage our suppliers to make positive changes.
“Müller Direct farmers are already hugely passionate about the welfare of their herds, but we’re confident that, by participating, everyone will reap the rewards. Apart from the obvious financial gain, farmers will benefit from potential improvements to the health and welfare of their herd, as well as benchmarking and additional expert support.
“We will benefit by being able to evidence aggregated herd health data with customers who don’t currently have a direct relationship with farmers. We’re confident that this package of initiatives will put our business and supply farmers in a strong position.”
Müller has already launched a number of initiatives to increase farmer resilience, confidence and to help reduce their exposure to market volatility. They include the introduction of a fixed price contract option and opportunities for farmers to access dairy futures markets.