12-month anniversary of a stable but unviable Müller Direct milk price

The 12-month anniversary of the 25.25ppl Müller Direct (not aligned to a retailer) standard litre liquid base price is not one to be celebrated. The Müller Milk Group Board states that non-aligned suppliers for the UK’s number one liquid milk dairy company are currently receiving a base price 5.92ppl lower than 31.17ppl which is the average of the two main retailer cost tracker milk prices for September 2020. In addition, a Müller Direct premium of 1ppl will be paid to suppliers on eligible volume in January 2021.

Ray Gibbins, Vice-Chairman of the MMG Board commented; “At this milk price, many Müller Direct farmers are having difficulty covering their monthly costs with many relying on the recent Government bounce back loans to support their cash flow needs. There are fears that dairy farms will increasingly exit production unless the liquid market returns a more sustainable milk price”.

The current method which sets the milk price paid to Müller Direct (non-aligned) suppliers is fundamentally flawed. The monthly milk price is determined by the processor in the form of discretionary pricing. This approach creates an imbalance in the relationship between farmers and processors.

The issue of discretionary pricing is one that the Government is currently seeking views upon. The MMG Board is positively engaging with the current consultation on contractual relationships in the UK dairy industry. Included in its response MMG will be strongly advocating a review of discretionary pricing and consideration of alternative pricing options, a mechanism to support volume management and the possible adoption of non-exclusivity arrangements. It is hoped that the outcome of the consultation will result in risk and reward being balanced more equitably across the dairy supply chain. By responding to the consultation, dairy farmers have a direct route into Government and a long-awaited opportunity to make positive changes for the benefit of dairy farmers and the future of their farm businesses.


Get Our E-Newsletter - breaking news to your in-box twice a week
Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy

About The Author

John Swire - Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.