Farmer-processor co-operation is ‘vital’

UK - While he had massive confidence in the long term future of the dairy industry, there were no ‘magic bullets’ and there was a real need for producers, processors, and retailers to work together, MDC’s Ken Boynes told an AgriScot dairy seminar.
calendar icon 24 November 2006
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He said that dealing with the industries problems was very much a matter of taking small steps linked to improving efficiency, innovation and relationships.

Mr Boynes said there was real concern about falling numbers of dairy farmers and, for the first time, total UK production of milk was also falling. However, he also believed that significant imports of liquid milk into the UK were unlikely unless UK production fell much further and the value of milk increased greatly.

Recent work at the University of Wales, Aberyswyth, had shown that production costs of milk varied greatly from farm to farm, but while basic input costs were similar for ‘average’ and top 10 per cent of farms, the top farms were producing more milk for the same costs, he said.

The lack of innovation was to some extent a legacy of the former Milk Marketing Board which had also produced an element of competition between farmers and processors. It was vital that farmers and processors should now work together for the common interest, he said.

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