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As we plummet headlong into yet another round of cuts, the question for most must be just how low can prices go?
Barring any unforeseen circumstance, the likelihood is they will sink further through spring with the EU butter and SMP stocks set to keep the lid on things for some time yet.
However, despite these horrendous prices, there’s little sign of output being curtailed either here or on mainland Europe, and paradoxically the reverse appears true.
So what can be done? Well, some like Dairy UK desperately want to see the industry gearing up to compete on the world stage and many are pointing a finger at AHDB Dairy and urging it to ease back on its technologically-oriented research to devote some of that resource to putting UK dairy producers into a better marketing position.
One of these has been RABDF which has called for AHDB to shift its emphasis and review its proposed three-year plan which has just been out for consultation.
RABDF policy director Tim Brigstocke opines: “We believe the current dire economic circumstances in which many dairy farmers find themselves, particularly if they are not on retailer aligned contracts, is one which should be the key priority.”
They suggest things such as milk price formulas, futures, labelling and generic advertising which, added to Dairy UK’s wish list on exports,
would be something for AHDB to get its teeth into.
Now whether such a Damascene conversion would make a difference this time round is difficult to tell, but at least producers would feel something was being done to help lift them out of this mess!
Peter Hollinshead, Dairy Farmer editor