New price cut blow for Bute dairy farmers

Bute's dairy farmers will be hit by a further cut in the price they receive for their milk from September 1.
Bute's dairy farmers will be hit by a further cut in the price they receive for their milk from September 1.

Bute’s dairy farmers are to be hit by yet another cut in the price they receive for their milk.

Co-operative First Milk has given less than a week’s notice of plans to cut prices from September 1 - the second month in a row farmers have been given short notice of a reduction.

The company’s milk price will reduce by 0.2ppl for its balancing milk pools and by 0.3ppl for its manufacturing milk pools.

The news comes after one of Bute’s under-pressure dairy farmers, Duncan Lyon, decided to sell the dairy herd at his farm at Drumachloy, near Ettrick Bay, due to concerns over the ongoing viability of the industry.

Bute’s dairy farmers have already had to endure a heavier price cut than their mainland counterparts, with First Milk blaming the move on increased transport costs - though the Scottish Government has already pledged £65,000 to offset that additional expense.

First Milk representatives are due to attend a meeting in Campbeltown on Monday, August 31 to update members on the ‘turnaround plan’ announced by new chief executive Mike Gallacher in May.

Graeme Kilpatrick, chairman of NFU Scotland’s milk committee, said: “These fresh cuts will be another bitter blow for First Milk producers, further widening the gap between the price they will be receiving for their milk and the price they need for their businesses to continue milking cows.

“The public should be under no illusion that the recent movement by some retailers to put a floor on price of milk going into the liquid milk market, while welcome, will only benefit a relatively small number of producers.

“There has been little or no commitment from supermarkets to deliver sustainable prices into the rest of their dairy category that includes cheese, butter, cream and yoghurts.

“That is an area that would benefit a company like First Milk. When the wholesale price of cheese has fallen by more than 30 percent on the year, the public would be astonished to know that the price on the shelf has changed little.

“Looking at the crisis hitting all commodities, the Union will continue to meet with retailers and other parts of the food chain to secure a fundamental change to relationships that will deliver a fairer share of risk and reward between retailers, processors and farmers across all products.”