England

Müller to reduce farmers milk price due to 'market realities'

Muller plant at Market Drayton
Image caption Müller said it was to adjust its milk price for the first time in five months

The milk price paid to farmers is to be reduced by dairy company Müller by 1p per litre.

The cut to 21.35p reflected a further weakening in the market caused by "very high levels of supply from farms coupled with poor demand for dairy commodities," the firm said.

Müller, which has its UK headquarters at Market Drayton, Shropshire, said the reduction would be from 15 February.

Dairy farmer Andrew Bebb said "a lot of businesses will go under".

'Market realities'

Müller, which said it had 2,000 dairy farmer suppliers, stated it was to adjust its milk price for the first time in five months.

Lyndsay Chapman, agriculture director of Müller Milk & Ingredients, said it remained "committed to offering competitive milk prices and contracts" and had "tried to provide stability" by maintaining the milk price since September, despite "very difficult and declining market conditions".

But the company said it could not fully protect its dairy farmer suppliers "from the realities of the market".

The firm said it "continues to invest heavily to add value to farm gate milk by making a range of dairy products including fresh milk, cream, butter, flavoured milk, yogurt, chilled desserts and powder".

Mr Bebb, 57, of Hanwood, Shropshire, who was involved in protests last year, said: "One friend, his milk buyer was paying him 16p a litre. Some have been paid less than that.

"We normally pray for an early spring to get the cows out, but that will only push milk volumes even higher and exacerbate the problem.

"It's unsustainable producing milk at below the cost of production long term."

The company said Müller Milk Group, formerly Müller Wiseman Milk Group, would offer 21.35p per litre and Müller Direct Milk, formerly Dairy Crest Direct, 20.69p per litre.

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