England

Muller UK and Ireland cuts farmers milk price

Muller plant at Market Drayton
Image caption Muller said it was seeing a "significant imbalance between supply and demand"

The milk price paid to farmer suppliers is to be reduced by dairy company Muller UK and Ireland.

Its offer of 22.35p per litre, a cut of 0.8p, reflected "very high levels of supply" from UK farms coupled with "weak global demand", the firm said.

Muller, which has its UK headquarters at Market Drayton, Shropshire, said the offer was from 7 September.

Farmer Paul Rowbottom, who has previously organised protests, said it was "a disgrace".

The Market Drayton factory employs more than 700 staff and produces about 1.5bn pots of yoghurt every year, as well as butter and other dairy products.

'Robust' discussions

Dairy farmers in Britain had increased the milk supply by 1.6bn litres in the last 12 months compared with the same period two years ago, the company said.

It said it was seeing a "significant imbalance between supply and demand" in the UK and globally and this was "weighing heavily" on the value of milk produced by farmers.

Head of milk supply for Muller UK and Ireland, Martin Armstrong, said the firm would "work collaboratively with our farmer board to align supply with demand".

In a statement released by the company, the Muller Wiseman Milk Group board, representing dairy farmers, said its role was to ensure the firm was "under no illusions" about the position farmers "find themselves in" and its discussions were "constructive and robust".

Mr Rowbottom, from Ipstones, Staffordshire, who has been part of Farmers For Action protests, said: "They're still encouraging farmers to produce more milk because there's a volume-linked bonus because the more they collect, the more they get... Some farmers are paid more than others."

He said the company would be better off to "cut [its] supply of milk and pay more to farmers".

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