A major UK milk processor has asked a group of militants to ‘stop and think’ before inflicting further damage to an industry already under severe pressure from steep falls in the value of commodities like cream and butter.
Militant group Farmers for Action is threatening a series of illegal blockades of British dairies, including those owned by Müller UK & Ireland Group.
Ronald Kers, Chief Executive at Müller UK & Ireland Group said:
“Dairy farmers have been breaking all-time records in terms of milk production and the prices received for their milk. Farms in the UK have increased production by more than 1 billion litres of milk this year - almost an extra litre for every ten litres which they produced last year.
“Unfortunately this extra milk coupled with weaker demand has affected farm-gate milk prices. This is a worldwide phenomenon repeated in all major milk producing countries, and the imbalance between supply and demand has resulted in the value of dairy commodities reducing by more than 50% in just 8 months.
“Some of this decrease in commodity prices is being reflected in the farm gate milk price. Whilst disappointed, most farmers accept that this the nature of the milk market.
“But this group of militants believes that markets can be affected by unlawfully halting operations and vehicle movements in and out of dairies, which adds substantial cost and makes it harder for processors to recover from the impact of this slump.
“The taxpaying public, which includes hard-working farmers, will be left to pick up a substantial bill for the policing of these illegal blockades and hundreds of dairy employees who simply want to do their jobs before going home to their families will again be affected.
“The reputation of the UK dairy industry as a progressive, market responsive and innovative sector has been growing, and this is crucial if our industry is to attract the investment required to build world class processing capacity.
These militants seem intent on destroying this and making the UK an unattractive prospect for investment. The consequences for the entire British agricultural industry could be disastrous.“
Müller UK & Ireland Group is supplied by 1200 dairy farmers who are represented by their own elected farmer board (Müller Wiseman Milk Group Board). The company is committed to paying a leading market related farm-gate milk price.
Against the backdrop of this imbalance between volumes of milk supplied by dairy farmers and Müller’s requirements, the company and the MWMG board have agreed a project which will identify mutually beneficial ways of mitigating the problem.
The initiative aims to find ways of achieving closer alignment between farm milk production and Müller’s demand profile, reducing the need to sell surplus milk into low value markets. The project is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Notes to Editors
Reasons for the reduction in Müller UK & Ireland Group milk price: http://presscentre.muller.co.uk/pressreleases/cream-value-slump-and-farm-gate-milk-volume-glut-impact-muller-wiseman-milk-group-milk-price-1061420
Independent information on:
Increases in farm milk production: http://www.dairyco.org.uk/market-information/supply-production/milk-production/uk-daily-milk-deliveries/#.VDEsfmdwb4h
Decline in the value of dairy products: http://www.dairyco.org.uk/market-information/milk-prices-contracts/wholesale-prices/uk-wholesale-prices/#.VDEtymdwb4g
Müller UK & Ireland Group
Müller UK & Ireland Group is wholly owned by the Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller. It has 19 sites nationwide and employs almost 6,000 people across four business units: Müller Dairy, Müller Wiseman Dairies, Müller Minsterley and TM Telford.
Based in Market Drayton, Müller Dairy is the UK's leading yogurt manufacturer, with major brands such as Müller Corner, Müllerlight and Müller Rice.
Müller Wiseman Dairies processes and delivers around 30% of the fresh milk consumed in Britain every day and is famous for its black & white cow-print branding. In December 2013, the business formally opened a major new state of the art butter-making plant in Shropshire, with the capacity to produce up to 45,000 tonnes of salted, unsalted and lactic butter each year.
Müller Minsterley is our facility near Shrewsbury at which chilled desserts including Cadbury Bubbles of Joy, Pots of Joy, Chocolate Trifle and Twin-pot products are produced under a license from Cadbury.
TM Telford is a state of the art yogurt production facility in Telford, Shropshire which is focused on the development of the company's presence in the UK private label yogurt market.
To make its range of dairy products, the company buys milk from more than 1,200 British dairy farmers, all of whom are Red Tractor Farm Assured.
Müller Wiseman Milk Group Dairy members elect a representative farmer board which works with the company to discuss milk supply issues, including the Group's commitment to maintain a competitive milk price and contractual position.