Milk producers should be receiving an additional 3ppl now and should be fighting for 30ppl by Christmas, according to Farmers for Action chairman David Handley.
Speaking at the Farmers Guardian/Dairy Farmer ’What future for Milk’ debate at the Dairy Show, Mr Handley said the 30ppl was realistic, although it would only be 25ppl if they ’sat on their backsides’.
His comments followed claims by the NFU dairy farmers were being short-changed by milk buyers to the tune of £200 million.
Mr Handley urged dairy farmers to take greater control of their businesses, saying they needed to have a greater understanding of supply and demand issues, using milk volumes as a negotiating tool with processors.
He urged farmers to set up more dairy producer organisations (DPO) under strong leadership, signalling there was a growing drive for a new DPO in south east England.
Michael Oakes, NFU dairy board chairman, said milk buyers were lagging behind in passing on the huge lifts in market prices to their suppliers.
"Since May this year market indicators have started to show a massive differential between what prices dairy farmers should have got compared to what they actually did get – between June and September this totals about £200m.
"Farmers have been patient, understanding the time lag which is part of the dairy trade. But that reason is starting to wear thin, as we need to start considering increased costs of winter housing and feeding. Our message is clear – until milk buyers start backing British dairy farmers and start paying fair, sustainable milk prices and volumes will not recover."
Mike Houghton, of consultants Andersons, said the fall in sterling since the Brexit vote had helped boost milk prices by between 1-2ppl and the Basic Payment Scheme was likely to be 16 per cent higher, adding around £30/hectare (£12/acre).
However, Mr Houghton added there were uncertainties ahead, saying there were just 30 people trained to negotiate trade tariffs in the UK.
It was important, he said, the Government considered agriculture in the light of the threat of cheap imports, particularly with the UK only 61 per cent self-sufficient in food.
He expected to see very little Government financial support for farmers post-2020.