Beef And Milk Prices Must Rise - And Fast

UK -The National Farmers' Union (NFU) has warned that milk and beef prices must rise, otherwise the industries will collapse.
calendar icon 10 December 2010
clock icon 3 minute read
National Farmers Union


NFU dairy board chairman Mansel Raymond has spoken of the justified anger felt by many dairy farmers who are not currently getting a fair price for their milk when he when he addressed the Northern Dairy Conference earlier in the week.

“I won’t beat around the bush,” said Mr Raymond. “As dairy farmers, we are not getting a fair deal at the moment, and we are justifiably angered by it. What’s more, I am utterly dismayed by the whispers I hear in the industry that we may see downward price movement early next year.

“My message to milk buyers remains the same, but to avoid any doubt then let me make it crystal clear once again – farm gate milk prices should be going up and anything other than an urgent price increase will not be tolerated. Milk buyers should take this as a warning that we will not stand back. We will make our message heard loud and clear and take whatever responsible actions are required to make sure farmers’ voices are heard.”

Mr Raymond also set out a compelling case for why farmers should see a more positive return at the farm gate including:

  • The cost of milk production is 27.5ppl and rising on the back of feed price hikes.
  • Cheese markets remain firm with the MCVE – the market indicator for cheese at 29.5ppl
  • EU milk prices average 27.6ppl while the current GB milk price average is 25.5ppl.
  • The price of bulk cream is £1,480/tonne, providing an income of 8.17ppl to a liquid processor.

"The bottom line is this; all parts of the supply chain have a vested interest in maintaining a productive, profitable and healthy dairy industry so we can provide consumers with the produce they want - and make a profit from doing it. Nothing could be fairer than that.”


Discussions at the NFU livestock board meeting earlier this week centred on the present market situation and the need for continued commitment to British beef by the whole supply chain going into 2011. NFU livestock board chairman Alistair Mackintosh welcomed the present price rise but warned it must continue. He said the industry couldn’t afford a repeat of 2010 where prices have fallen consistently below the cost of production.

“The price volatility of the current pricing situation has been down to an oversupply of domestic cattle, heavier cattle on the market and oversupply from Ireland,” said Mr Mackintosh. “However, after a meeting with the Irish Farmers Association, it is apparent that this situation is changing. It is clear they are facing increasing production costs and a fall in cattle numbers, which is combining with the current economic crisis. What this shows is that there is not going to be an abundant supply of Irish cattle next year.

“With this in mind retailers and processors need to give the right signals to British producers for them to have confidence in a secure domestic supply. This is especially important as we head into 2011 and see production costs continue to rise. It is essential that beef producers start to see a profitable price for their cattle.

“The NFU will continue to stress the need for retailers to commit to stocking British beef; especially as supplies from Ireland and South American can never be guaranteed.”

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