Don’t miss this month’s new look Dairy Farmer. Take a look at the digital edition today.
Well what a turnabout! Commodity prices are scrabbling back as EU production wanes and we are now starting to see what has been a long time acomin’, and that is the rescinding of planned cuts and, better still, extra pence offered.
Which can only serve to lift those bowed heads and offer the hope of better things to come, not just now but into the winter as production is predicted to continue its downward spiral.
But there is one bunch who will be on the outside of this joy and that is the Muller nonaligned suppliers. As a group it has been on some pretty thin gruel over the past troubled months and they are entitled to feel more than a little miffed at what is going on.
So why should Muller decide to freeze its September price and refuse point blank to offer more? You only have to see the latest GDT to see how much prices have moved and those improved prices must be feeding through as we speak, and yet it stubbornly persists in denying this cash-starved group a share in this for another six weeks at the earliest.
Why? Is it strapped for cash after swallowing the Dairy Crest liquid portfolio which may be proving a little more indigestible than it ever imagined? Or is it that it feels it daren’t move independently of Arla, but this fails to recognise that Arla has greater constraints with its wider membership and may itself have to revise its arrangements before too long.
Such indignation has fired up Farmers For Action and its troops who have undeniably made their presence felt and put their case over. But as before the German giant is digging its toes in and threatening legal action against those who wish to make their case outside its plants, and neither side looks in any frame of mind to back down.
The NFU has stepped back from a request to condemn the action and talks are set to be convened with Muller in an attempt to resolve the matter. But if supplies do tighten Muller will have to do something before long anyhow.
Surely they must realise that the longer this goes on the greater the danger of more adverse PR, and you might just think that would be important to a company which prides itself on becoming the biggest and best!