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‘Tough times’ lie ahead
2:36pm Wednesday 3rd October 2012 in Farming
THE Tenant Farmers’ Association is warning of tough times ahead for British dairy farmers this winter as further increases in costs are expected to squeeze margins once again.
TFA national vice-chairman, Stephen Wyrill, said: “Over the summer, the Dairy Coalition of farming organisations, buoyed by the peaceful, effective protests around the country from dairy farmers, has achieved great results in terms of turning around many of the price reductions imposed by dairy processors and retailers.”
However, he said that, despite a few significant exceptions, it was disappointing that in the main prices paid to dairy farmers for the milk they produced were pegged to costs of production.
Mr Wyrill said: “It seems that profit is a dirty word, but it is profit that will drive future investment, efficiency and performance. Dairy farmers cannot continue to survive on thin air.
“Looking ahead to this winter, it is anticipated that we will see increases in feed, fodder and fuel costs which will once again push dairy farmers into a deficit position.”
Mr Wyrill said that politicians talked much about the responsibility that dairy farmers had to control costs.
He said: “As a dairy farmer myself, I know how much this grates given the extent to which we have no control over many of the costs we have to face.
“With bovine TB, adverse weather conditions, increasing oil prices, tightening grain markets, burgeoning regulation and increasing farm rents all adding to the cost burden, I often wonder what it is exactly politicians are asking us to do.”
He said that partnership in the supply chain is much talked about, and that the voluntary code of practice, once it has cleared its regulatory hurdles, will help set a baseline against which partnership could develop.
He added: “However, true partnership will only be achieved when we see the supply chain fairly distributing profit between producers, processors and retailers. Sadly we are still some way off achieving that.”
Dairy Crest has announced that farmers on contract will be paid 28.25ppl from October 1.