Robert Wiseman Dairies has launched an initiative to work out how its farmgate milk prices can be set in a more transparent way.

The Wisemilk Initiative kicks off this week and will take at least three months to complete. It will be worked on by four farmer representatives of the Wiseman Milk Partnership, as well as Wiseman directors, and will be based on the proposed voluntary dairy industry code of practice. Independent consultants are expected to assist in the process.

Wiseman said one of the key aims of the project was to “deliver transparency on how farmgate milk prices are determined” to allow farmers to plan better.

“We cannot ignore the ups and downs of a market, but we have to strengthen the basis of the partnership we have with dairy farmers who supply us,” milk procurement director Pete Nicholson said.

“There is a shared belief that steps can be taken to remove the tensions and lack of clarity that exist in the supply chain at the moment. It’s time to start the process of rebuilding trust and we will work diligently and constructively in order to achieve this.”

Wiseman Milk Partnership chairman Roddy Catto welcomed the initiative and said he hoped it would be a first step towards greater “transparency and honesty” in how farmgate prices were set.

“There is a lot of work to do if dairy farmers are to have the basis from which they can move forward, invest and see a future in dairying,” he said.