Dairy farmers are calling for price rises for milk that goes to make British Cheddar.

Malcolm Smith, chief executive of Dairy Farmers of Britain, said they could not continue to supply milk to cheesemakers at a loss.

Speaking at The Dairy Event in Stoneleigh, he said either prices for mild Cheddar had to rise by around £200 a tonne or processors and retailers needed to take a lower margin.

He said the price rise, equivalent to 20p a kg, was essential because domestic cheese stocks were falling and dairy farmers were leaving the industry. “The situation has now got very serious. In the last year 10% of UK dairy farmers have ceased milk production because they simply cannot make a living at current price levels.”

First Milk chief executive John Duncan is supporting the call and has written to 20 leading
retailers asking for their support for a 2p per litre price rise across the total range of British dairy products.

“I have a clear remit to do all that is necessary to get the price up by this amount. The message from our producers is loud and clear.”