Milk price stability will not be achieved if farmers refuse to work with processors to ensure the market is ‘demand-led’ rather than production-led.
It comes as Arla sent a letter to producers encouraging them to increase production due to increased demand from its customers for British milk (see panel).
Speaking at the dairy breakout session of last week’s NFU conference, NFU dairy board chairman Michael Oakes championed a stronger push towards a ‘much more grown-up’ and collaborative industry.
He said: “The process needs to be transparent and honest. There needs to be trust. We can do this on an individual basis with our processors and I think farmers have got to get into this mindset.”
Dairy farmer, Roger Jenkin, Cornwall, argued it was time to ‘take back control of our milk price’ after having had enough of processors ‘having a great time ripping us off’.
“The supply and demand situation is such that if we are a litre over production we have got a surplus and if we are a litre under production we have got a shortage," he said.
“In a shortage position we actually gain on our milk price, but when there is a surplus the price goes down.
“We need agreements between processors and producers as to how much milk they can produce and in what market they can sell it on.
“There is no point having free reign to produce whatever you want to.”