Vets call for greater support for dairy farmers as milk prices plummet

In a letter to MPs, farm vets from VetPartners are calling on the government to address the volatility of the milk market at a time when farmers are facing increased labour costs and the price of fuel, equipment, energy and rents have risen.

According to the latest government figures, the average farmgate price for a litre of milk dropped to 37.6p in May, a near 8% decrease compared to the same month last year, leaving many farmers with no choice but to abandon the sector.

To ensure primary producers are paid a fair price for their goods, farm vets from VetPartners are calling for a minimum farmgate price to be implemented for milk, other dairy products and meat.

The letter to MPs was written by Westpoint Farm Vets clinical director Jack Balkham and has also been issued by farm vets across the group.

VetPartners Farm Director Ian Cure is among the farm vets who have written to their MP voicing concerns about the future of dairy farming, saying the volatility in the sector is making it difficult for farmers to invest in their businesses.

“The five-year, rolling average farmgate price for milk as of May 2023 was 33.65ppl, and this has changed very little over the last six years. It is well documented that in recent times, costs across all sectors have increased with labour costs, fuel, equipment, rents and rates at an all-time high.

“This now means that the industry estimates the cost of production to be in the region of 40-45ppl. It is therefore clear that this is not sustainable, and something must be done to support British farming, and ensure food security for our country.”

He went on to highlight the recent fall in milk prices means that many farm businesses are struggling to survive, which in turn has a negative impact on the rural economy as a whole.

“We have already seen many farmers leave the sector for economic reasons. Food security for this island nation is paramount, and I believe we must take action now to prevent more farmers leaving the industry,” he stressed.

Dr Cure believes the government need not absorb all of the costs and there is much processors and supermarkets can do to unburden the dairy sector and mitigate the effect of market fluctuations.

“We must act now to support these farmers as they have supported and continue to support us by providing the market with some of the highest welfare and greatest quality produce in the world.

“Minimum milk pricing to the cost of production is the least we owe them and is vital to ensure the survival of these businesses and our country’s ongoing food security,” Dr Cure concluded.

© Farmers Guide 2024. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use Privacy Policy

Website Design by Unity Online

We have moved!

We’ve now moved to our new office in Stowmarket. If you wish to contact us please use our new address:

Unit 3-4 Boudicca Road, Suffolk Central Business Park, Stowmarket, IP14 1WF

Thank you,

The Farmers Guide Team