What Price Your Daily Pinta?

  oresome 10:15 20 Jul 2012
Locked

The price being paid to dairy farmers by the processors is being cut apparently and farmers margins are slender now, so they are naturally unhappy.

We pay a £1.00 for four pints of milk at various supermarkets. Good value by any standard and cheaper than bottled water I'm told.

I can't understand how the price can be dictated by the processors and big supermarkets unless there is a surplus of milk and alternative suppliers are offering it at little or no profit. Or are some farmers more efficient producers?

Surely it works like any other supply and demand situation.

Milk consumption has decreased over the years, presumably despite a growing population and the low price. Meantime the yield per cow has increased, so perhaps we have too many dairy farmers and a few need to turn to other crops.

Once we get the supply and demand back in balance, the remaining farmers should be able to get a fair return for their efforts.

  Aitchbee 10:24 20 Jul 2012

I used to drink a pint of milk daily to 'wash down' my filled rolls in my working days' lunch hour; but now my consumption is almost nil.

  Quickbeam 10:35 20 Jul 2012

£2.50 a pint for Tetleys in my local.

  Aitchbee 11:03 20 Jul 2012

When helpin' to do the shoppin' for my sister (for the heavy stuff), I've noticed that there is a considerable price difference in 2 brands of semi-skimmed milk (in the same refridgerated display) in my local grocer-shop. If you buy 2 cartons of the 'white stuff' (4litres) you can 'save' some money.

  KRONOS the First 11:19 20 Jul 2012

Note; When I tried to post as a link the computer told me 'we think this is spam'.

Obviously you have not posted a link to often recently, since the spam attack PCA's new filters are rejecting quite innocent links. Makes helping others problematic to say the least.

  Aitchbee 12:06 20 Jul 2012

This morning,I heard on the 'farming spot' on radio4 that some farmers in England were buying all the milk from Morrisons and Lidl stores and giving it away free to the 'perplexed' shoppers as a means of publicising their plight.

  Condom 12:46 20 Jul 2012

You can't have it every way. On the one hand we are told let the market decide and you can't buck the market and then when it is inconvenient for some they start complaining.

Dairy farmers have had several very good years when they have been making a lot of money so now a few of them find they are in the same pot with the rest of us and they don't like it.

  Forum Editor 13:01 20 Jul 2012

"perhaps we have too many dairy farmers and a few need to turn to other crops."

If only it was that simple. Dairy farming is a specialised business, and milk production involves considerable expenditure on equipment and buildings etc. It isn't a practical proposition for a dairy farmer to get up one morning and say 'I think I'll grow cereals this year and forget the milk'.

Dairy farmers are either direct sellers (selling to the public) or wholesale sellers. A wholesale milk farmer has to register his quota (all milk production is subject to EU quotas) with an approved milk buyer - a supermarket chain, for instance. If he suddenly stops selling milk he may lose his quota, and be unable to return to production later. It is possible to suspend a quota - say for a year - but a farmer has to give a very good reason to DEFRA, or risk losing the quota.

It's all quite complex, but the system as set up at the moment means that the really big buyers - supermarket chains mainly - can more or less dictate the price of milk. That's what has the farmers so angry, they feel they've been squeezed too hard.

  Quickbeam 13:13 20 Jul 2012

And in the real world the vast majority of us like our MPs, don't actually know what the price of milk is, we just get get some more when it's needed, either when we're in the supermarket for our major shop or the local 7/11 that's 10% of dearer.

Within reason, it's only the big supermarkets that see the price of milk being unrealistically low as crucial to retail survival.

  spuds 13:25 20 Jul 2012

I recall a few years ago, when a group of dairy farmer's were giving free milk away, at the local Asda superstore, in protest of the prices that company was giving to the farmers. Asda once again seems to have been singled out in the recent complaints.

What was interesting about the previous incident, was the fact (and I witnessed this) that the Asda store was photographing and filming the demo?.

Regarding Quotas, I believe these can be traded, and it was shown on a television program a few months ago on how this was being done.

Regarding the £1.00 per 4 pint (2,272ltr) container of milk, this is nothing new. Aldi, Llidl, Iceland and even our local stores have been selling it at that price for ages. It's only fairly recently that the Big 4 have reduced to special offers of £1.00, but at the same time, still retained some 4 pint container's at an higher price rate, depending on label. I know of one well known store that often sells 4 pint container's of milk for £1.00 or two for £1.60.

Wait till planning approval is given in some areas for the American way of milk production. Thirty thousand cows per unit, might just be a beginning?.

  interzone55 14:08 20 Jul 2012

I used to work in the cheese wholesale business, and as you can imagine, cheese makers use quite a bit of milk. Many of them are tied to dairies, or use their own cattle, but some of the smaller ones have to buy their milk wholesale.

One of our smaller makers used to buy their milk from Robert Wiseman, but suddenly Wiseman said that unless they bought 10,000 litres a day they would have to increase their price to retail.

They only used about 300 litres a day, so they found it was cheaper to buy their milk from Asda than from the wholesale dairy.

We live in a mental world...

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