Dairy industry experts have accused Defra of publishing ’nonsensical’ milk prices after latest figures from the department suggested the farmgate milk price for February was up 10.8 per cent.
In its monthly farmgate milk price overview, Defra says the February farmgate milk price increased to 25.57ppl. This represents a 10.8 per cent (2.48ppl) increase on January 2016, it claims.
A Defra spokesman said the rise was due to the factoring in of bonus and 13th payments and it was ’happy to stand by’ the figures.
But dairy analyst Chris Walkland slammed the Government department for making it appear as though UK dairy farmers were receiving a good price at one the industry’s lowest ebbs.
He said: "This is an absurd figure. To suggest the milk price has gone up by 10.8 per cent is a joke.
"If it is not changed then it will just mean the general media asks what dairy farmers are moaning about. It also allows other countries to have a distorted view of how our farmers are doing.
"They are wholly misleading and utterly nonsensical."
Mr Walkland suggested the Defra figures had been ’skewed’ for some time because of the importance they placed on the retail-aligned pools and claimed the Defra had been ’3ppl adrift of reality’ for a while.
And with non-aligned farmers receiving just 19ppl in his estimation, he said many producers were ’incensed’ by the figures.
But Defra said the figures simply reflected the fact bonus payments had been factored in.
A Defra spokesman said: “The increase in February’s figures reflects the inclusion of annual bonus payments made to some producers."