Milk shortage warning this winter

With milk deliveries six per cent down on last year and some pasture grazers reporting milk production down 30 per cent there could well be a shortage of milk this winter.

The warning was given by RABDF chairman David Cotton at the newly-branded Livestock 2012 event at the NEC on Tuesday.

"The summer has been one of the dullest and wettest for 100 years and some cows have spent more time inside than outdoors this summer," he said.

The industry has been on a roller coaster for the past three months. But at long last the work of the diary coalition and theĀ  hashtag SOS dairy campaign is bearing fruit. The proposed two pence per litre price cuts were abandoned, the voluntary code on contracts has been agreed and now Arla has announced price increases of two pence per litre to 29.5 ppl in October.

"The announcement is good news for all dairy producers and reflects processors' concern for farmers, futures," Mr Cotton said.

In the Livestock Hall, Arla's news was welcomed by Farmers for Action vice chairman Andrew Hemming and NFU milk board chairman Mansel Raymond. They were both at the Montbeliard stand for a #SOS Dairy photocall with Andrew providing a magnificent Montbeliard cow from his 200 cow Obelisk herd at Hockley Heath, West Midlands for the photoshoot.

"The news from Arla is fantastic," said Andrew who has led many of the protests in the area over the past few months and has been with members of the coalition during talks with processors.

"This is a real boost for us. It will put the pressure on to get everyone to come in line."

Mansel Raymond said Arla was sending the right message.

"We know that the cost of production is currently 29 to 30 pence per litre with an expensive winter ahead but this shows commitment to move forward."

"Arla says they recognise the achievement of the coalition work and will try and find common ground on the10 Point Plan.

"It's a case of putting pressure on the other buyers to follow suit and at least come to that price or better it. The big challenge will be to get the dairy companies to adopt the voluntary code on contracts," he added.

Milk production cost over winter is likely to go up to 31 pence per litre.