Farmers "pushed to the brink" by milk cuts
1:00pm Saturday 21st July 2012 in News
Pembrokeshire milk producers are calling for changes in the relationship between farmers and processors following a second round of devastating milk price cuts.
Dozens travelled to London in coaches on Wednesday to hear Pembrokeshire farmer and NFU deputy president, Meurig Raymond, tell thousands of farmers gathered at Central Hall, Westminster, that the latest cuts would take milk producers into loss-making territory.
He said dairy farmers had been pushed to the brink by the latest cuts, farmers like Dairy Crest supplier, Simon Davies.
Mr Davies and his wife, Sian, milk 200 pedigree cows at Brynhyfryd Farm, Hermon, and run a mainly autumn calving system.
Although they have no plans to give up milk production, they believe many farmers will sell their herds unless major changes are introduced to the contracts between farmers and their buyers.
Many farmers are locked into contracts for long periods but only get a few days’ notice of price changes. It is understood that a revised voluntary code for dairy contracts between farmers and milk processors is now close to being agreed.
Meurig Raymond is calling for the price cuts to be reversed by August 1st.
“Society has to recognise what these dairy farmers have been put through by a market place that doesn’t work and is not fair,’’ he said.
He was given a standing ovation when he ended an impassioned speech to the gathered farmers with: “My final message is to retailers, processors, Government and loyal consumers: It’s time to back our dairy industry.”
Farmers are warning the cuts would see them losing tens of thousands of pounds at a time when they are also facing rising feed costs and the impacts of having to keep cows inside in the bad weather.
The latest cuts will see farmers being paid around 25p a litre for milk, compared to more than 30p it costs to produce.
There are 1,904 dairy farmers left in Wales and a large concentration of these are in Pembrokeshire.