Gransnet forums


The Price of Milk

(56 Posts)
rosequartz Tue 13-Jan-15 17:14:38

The price of milk in the UK is not the cost we pay in the supermarket. The price of milk will be farmers unable to sustain a living and losing their livelihood. When our dairy industry has shut down we will have to import milk from overseas.

In our search for cheaper food are we in danger of shutting down our dairy industry by frequenting those supermarkets which offer a lower and lower price to the dairy farmer?

Should there be a set price which is paid to the farmer for a staple food like this?

And how many people can honestly say, hand on heart, that they cannot afford to pay just that bit extra for milk to stop the decimation of the dairy farming industry?

and just for balance:

Lilygran Tue 13-Jan-15 22:00:40

Signed KateK

rosequartz Tue 13-Jan-15 23:01:17

I could not get back on earlier, so glad to see this is still going and people are signing.

Thanks everyone (not that I have a vested interest, although we have farmers in the family they are not dairy farmers). smile

Nelliemoser Tue 13-Jan-15 23:03:55

Phoenix I am a vegetarian and I agree with you about veal calves why not eat them. veal can and should be farmed humanely.

Nelliemoser Tue 13-Jan-15 23:06:01

I saw that petition his morning and signed it. The big supermarkets are fleecing the farmers. We need a bit of fair trade practice in Britain.

rosequartz Tue 13-Jan-15 23:07:32

Although we all have a vested interest; if the dairy farmers in this country are forced out of business by these supermarkets then we will be forced to buy imported milk.

Elegran Tue 13-Jan-15 23:27:22

If we want milk, we will get calves - basic biology. We eat lamb, don't we? The question with eating veal is the same as for any meat - the quality of its short life.

Crates were banned in the UK in 1990 and eventually banned across the EU in 2006, but the standards for rearing veal calves in the EU are still lower than those required in Britain.

If you buy "rose veal" n Britain it will be pink, not white, as its diet has not been restricted. "Freedom Food" labelled British high welfare veal comes from calves reared to the RSPCA welfare standards, slaughtered between 6 and 12 months. They must have evidence that their blood haemoglobin is above accepted levels. Calves slaughtered between 8 and 12 months can also be called ‘rose’ veal.

rosequartz Wed 14-Jan-15 11:07:47

The more people who sign the more the industry and the government will have to take notice and do something.

rosequartz Wed 14-Jan-15 11:10:08

Just putting them together to bump it up.

loopylou Wed 14-Jan-15 11:21:43


soop Wed 14-Jan-15 12:23:39


NanaNel Wed 14-Jan-15 12:48:46

Done. I do have a vested interest. We are dairy engineers and see our customers struggling to pay their bills from month to month. We have had a lot of our farmers decide to give up although they love the industry they just cannot make ends meets. Thank you all for signing.

POGS Wed 14-Jan-15 13:05:55

It's irrespective what the Supermarket charges for milk.

If they want to use milk as a 'lost leader' fine, that's their business. They could pay the farmer £1 a pint and sell it for 80p, that's how the system works.

What they should not get away with is paying farmers a pittance for the product and expect not to be found out. It is also poor customer relations, we do after all like to see our farming industry flourish, also short sightedness on their part by not protecting their buying source.

Farming has over many years lost dairy producers , there have been issues with subsidies for dairy over arable etc., perhaps I am wrong so I am sure somebody will set me straight. What however is evident this is a continual, nagging problem and it is about time for a proper appraisal of the farming industry and all aspects that are failing our hard working farmers before it's too late to save.

crun Wed 14-Jan-15 14:00:51

I buy Tesco Value skimmed milk at 49p/litre (27.8p/pint), and at 6.5% of the total, it's the second biggest single item on my grocery bill, after bread.

The reason that milk prices are low is oversupply. The farmers have complained that the prices are too low for a long while, but they also frequently say things like "we're making a loss, but we love the job". That's just driving the price down further for those who are still profitable.

Are we going to subsidise oversupply in other groceries too, and go back to the days of European wine lakes and butter mountains? I thought that the power and budget of the EU were particularly contentious at the moment.

Anya Wed 14-Jan-15 14:13:33

the reason that milk prices are low is oversuppli ??? hmm ???

rosequartz Wed 14-Jan-15 14:23:35

I don't think that Tesco is one of the culprits, crun

However, they are still 'skimming off' more profits, especially if people buy skimmed milk as the cream is then sold separately.

Lilygran Wed 14-Jan-15 14:41:54

If we want to keep dairy farming alive in this country, and not industrial-scale factory farms, we will have to pay more to the producers.

loopylou Thu 15-Jan-15 06:52:49

From what I've read the large-scale 'factory farms' are trying to reduce farming overheads in an attempt to stay in the market.
There is no 'over supply' driving down prices, that is happening because farmers are being paid 2/3 of the cost of what it costs to provide milk and the middlemen and shops are pocketing the profit.
Hardly surprising farmers giving up, as we did.

rosequartz Thu 15-Jan-15 10:00:24

Sorry for another link, but it is interesting!

POGS Thu 15-Jan-15 11:35:15

Out of interest I have been watching Business Questions in Parliament andand MP Nigel Evans has asked for an Urgent Question re dairy farming and milk prices. William. Hague said MP George Eustice (under sec. DEFRA) was meeting with the industry spokesmen, I think today, he also said exports of milk have increased.

Maybe there is a mood in politics to do something, problem is that usually means 'shelved' or takes years to conclude confused. Just maybe this problem is getting the attention it deserves.

rosequartz Thu 15-Jan-15 11:53:34

Interesting, thank you POGS.

When they say part of the problem is the fact that too much milk is being produced isn't the logical answer to look for export markets?

rosequartz Thu 15-Jan-15 11:55:01

Maybe the problem will be looked at more urgently because there is an election coming up.

Cynical - moi? Jamais.

NfkDumpling Thu 15-Jan-15 11:58:10

Thanks for the link Rose. It confirms that Yeo Valley is worth the extra pennies.

Crun - how come milk is such a big proportion of your shopping? Could it be that you need to use so much more because it's so watery?!

rosequartz Thu 15-Jan-15 12:03:48

We have Calon Wen in some of our local supermarkets, so I think I will buy that in future (or Yeo Valley).

I was surprised to see Rachel's at the bottom, but it is owned by a French firm now.

goldengirl Thu 15-Jan-15 17:59:11

I tend to buy Cravendale - whole and skimmed. Milk is an excellent food and should be recognised as such. I was brought up in a farming community and remember being shown how to milk a cow - by hand! Happy days. Sad that farmers are not properly recognised considering the hoops they have to jump through these days.

crun Thu 15-Jan-15 18:43:03

"There is no 'over supply' driving down prices, that is happening because farmers are being paid 2/3 of the cost of what it costs to provide milk and the middlemen and shops are pocketing the profit."

But how can they drive prices down if there is no surplus? The supermarkets have to compete with each other, not only for customers, but also for supplies, if there was a shortage prices would go up. It's been mentioned numerous times when the story is covered that there is a milk surplus.

"From what I've read the large-scale 'factory farms' are trying to reduce farming overheads in an attempt to stay in the market."

Yes, and the way they do that is by the economies of scale, thereby increasing the supply, reducing prices, and driving the smaller less efficient producers out of business.

"Crun - how come milk is such a big proportion of your shopping? Could it be that you need to use so much more because it's so watery?!"

What do you call a lot of milk? I use 130l/year, which is only 356cc/day, less than 2/3 of a pint. Watery?