First Milk payment deferral another blow for Welsh farmers

The announcement by dairy co-operative First Milk, to defer payment for milk and to increase member capital contributions, is yet another setback for a Welsh dairy sector which is already reeling from a period of sustained low prices and poor profitability, says the Farmers Union of Wales.

Last year saw months of consecutive downward milk pricing by many major milk buyers including Arla, First Milk and Dairy Crest and a lengthy delay in milk price recovery now seems certain due to problems such as over supply within the global marketplace.

FUW president Mr Emyr Jones said: “The decision to postpone milk cheques by two weeks will have a significant impact and FUW First Milk suppliers are extremely concerned about the decision. Farmers are not in a position to defer paying their bills or direct debits so this decision places them in an untenable position.

“The FUW is naturally anxious that a major collector of milk in Wales is experiencing cash flow problems and we have discussed our concerns with First Milk following the announcement.

“The decision by First Milk to defer payments compounds the sustained low prices already experienced by dairy producers in Wales and adds to concerns about the volatility of the milk market and its impact on the viability of the sector.”

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