Farms in the UK have increased production by more than 1 billion litres of milk this year – almost an extra litre for every ten litres which they produced last year according to Ronald Kers, Chief Executive at Müller UK & Ireland Group.
He said: “Dairy farmers have been breaking all-time records in terms of milk production and the prices received for their milk.”
The dairy boss made the statement as UK farmer group Farmers For Action began a protest campaign against milk price cuts in Shropshire.
Müller a major UK milk processor has asked a group of what it calls ‘militants’ to ‘stop and think’ before inflicting further damage to an industry already under severe pressure from steep falls in the value of commodities like cream and butter.
The Farmers for Action is threatening a series of blockades of British dairies, including those owned by Müller UK & Ireland Group.
The Müller chief says: “Unfortunately this extra milk coupled with weaker demand has affected farm-gate milk prices. This is a worldwide phenomenon repeated in all major milk producing countries, and the imbalance between supply and demand has resulted in the value of dairy commodities reducing by more than 50% in just 8 months.
“Some of this decrease in commodity prices is being reflected in the farm gate milk price. Whilst disappointed, most farmers accept that this is the nature of the milk market.
“But this group of militants believes that markets can be affected by unlawfully halting operations and vehicle movements in and out of dairies, which adds substantial cost and makes it harder for processors to recover from the impact of this slump.
“The taxpaying public, which includes hard-working farmers, will be left to pick up a substantial bill for the policing of these illegal blockades and hundreds of dairy employees who simply want to do their jobs before going home to their families will again be affected.
“The reputation of the UK dairy industry as a progressive, market responsive and innovative sector has been growing, and this is crucial if our industry is to attract the investment required to build world class processing capacity. These militants seem intent on destroying this and making the UK an unattractive prospect for investment. The consequences for the entire British agricultural industry could be disastrous.“