Müller milk price u-turn criticised by farmers

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Müller's u-turn on milk price increases has come under fire from the NFU
Müller's u-turn on milk price increases has come under fire from the NFU

Related tags: Dairy, coronavirus

Müller, the dairy processing giant, is facing criticism from National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) for making a u-turn on proposed price increases for farmgate milk.

The company previously announced it would increase its milk price by 1 pence per litre (PPL) in May after experiencing strong demand for its products.

However, it rescinded the mentioned increase earlier this week in response to a rapid decline in returns from commodity dairy products and no prospect of improvement.

NFUS milk committee chairman Gary Mitchell said he was confused and concerned about the decision to no longer over the price increase.

‘Mixed messages’

“Since March, I have acknowledged the very challenging times we are currently producing milk in, and as part of a vital supply chain, we all need to do our bit​,” said Mitchell. “In this case, it would appear that Müller producers are getting very mixed messages.

“When requested to cut production a couple of weeks, Müller suppliers were willing to step up to the plate as they fully appreciated the pressures of supply and demand. That move to curb production was done on the back of an improving milk price – an improving milk price that has now been taken away in just a few short weeks.”

The NFUS demanded a full explanation behind the walk back on its price increase to further understand what the future held for the UK’s dairy farmers.

“All dairy farmers need to be paid a sustainable price, and for this to happen we need more transparency at this challenging time for all,”​ Mitchell added.

Maintaining milk prices

While it said it was unable to comment on NFUS’ statement, Müller made it clear that it was maintaining the price it had set for milk through May and June – no plans had been made to decrease the price.

This was despite a crash in the wholesale price of cream in April from an average of £1,280 per tonne in March to £900 per tonne, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

Meanwhile, the Government is to temporarily relax competition rules to allow the dairy industry to work together in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic,

This move, led by trade body UK and the AHDB, would allow the industry to work together to address market challenges, avoid waste and maintain productive capacity to meet future demand.

Related topics: Dairy, COVID-19, Operations

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