The local cheese market could be heading for a massive slump following the sharp hike in milk prices.

The 50 per cent milk markup means that supermarket supplies are already dwindling and forecasters predict that future supplies could be severely hit.

“We’ve tried our best to forewarn what’s already happening and what’s likely to continue,” said Pembrokeshire dairy farmer Steve Evans of Spittal Cross Farm, near Haverfordwest.

“This isn’t a case of scaremongering but of just saying things like they are.  This is what’s happening and it’s for real.”

Mr Evans went on to say that supermarkets are already displaying their first signs of unease.

“They’re getting twitchy and scared about what’s going on, because all of a sudden the supply is tight.  Milk goes into cheese and at the moment, there’s hardly any cheese in storage.”

Mr Evans went on to say that the problem is being exacerbated by the animals’ rising feeding costs.

“The challenges are making some farmers throw in the towel.  People are reducing the amount of fertiliser and with feed costs going through the roof, what are people going to do?

"They’re going to feed less which means there’ll be less milk for doorstep deliveries, the supermarket shelves and the cheese factories.”

Recent figures confirm that a four pint bottle of milk has increased in price from £1.15 to £1.70 which represents a 50 per cent increase, while butter has risen from £1.55 to £2.

And Paul Tompkins, vice chair of the National Union of Farmers dairy board, predicts that prices are likely to stay for the foreseeable future.

“It takes two and a half years to get a calf from being born on the farm to be producing milk and that incurs a lot of costs over those two years. 

"Even if things return to normal, even if we reduce our costs and get paid a fair price for milk, the implications of what we’re going through now is actually going to remain for the medium to longer term. 

"This is a matter of concern to everyone who eats and drinks decent dairy food.”