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Dairy raises milk price by 1p per litre
A COUNTY Durham dairy has announced a 1p per litre price rise for farmers who supply more than 500,000 litres a year.
Rock Farm Dairy, at Wheatley Hill, said the increase would take effect from September 1 and would raise the price paid to 33ppl.
Keith Gregory, operations manager, said: “Our intention is to always offer the fairest price possible for the milk our farmers supply and our pricing policy is totally transparent.”
The previously familyowned dairy went into administration in March 2012 and was bought by UK Dairy Sales in June that year.
It invested £2m in the business and, in February, announced its annual turnover had almost doubled to just under £12m.
Rock now supplies more than 400,000 litres of milk a week to customers across the North.
It is the largest supplier of 189ml bottles of milk to schools in the region and also supplies hospitals, care homes, universities, shops, hotels and restaurants.
Mr Gregory said the dairy wanted to work closely with farmers and develop longterm partnerships.
“A fair and sustainable price paid for the milk they supply to us is central to this, as is our desire to help our farmers develop and improve their business in any way we can,” said Mr Gregory.
“Increasingly, our customers want to know where their milk comes from and trust the quality of the source, which is why we are committed to supporting dairy farmers in our region.
“More than half the milk we process is provided by farms within a 60-mile radius of the dairy and this will rise to nearer 80 per cent later in the year as new farms that have already been contracted begin to supply.”
The dairy recently took 14 of its farmers to the European Dairy Farmers congress in Sweden where they learnt about the Swedish “high-input high-output”
milk-processing system, and the challenges faced by other European dairy farmers.
Andrew Brass who, with his father Norman, farms near Durham, said: “Although we use robotic milking systems here, we were amazed at some of the more advanced technology being used on farms in Sweden.
“The trip certainly refocused our minds as to what is possible and how we might better use technology to help make our farm more profitable.”
Chris Foster’s family have been dairy farmers on the North York Moors for more than 90 years and said the trip was “a real eye opener”.
“It allowed me to set a benchmark for my own business and reaffirmed that the low input grazing system of dairy farming that we use over here has many advantages,”
“I came away with some new ideas, such as the possibility of introducing Viking Reds into my herd to help improve productivity, but generally it gave me confidence that we are on the right path.”
The Biogas plant at the Skottorps Sateri dairy farm runs primarily on corn and cow manure. It produces enough electricity and hot water to supply the farmhouse, as well as the dairy, grain dryer, garage, tractor shed and office space