Robert Wiseman Dairies has moved a step closer to launching its much-anticipated A2 DNA-tested milk by kicking off a farmer recruitment drive.

A2 milk, which is already sold in Australia and New Zealand, comes from cows that produce only A2 - and not A1 - beta-casein protein. Some consumers are believed to be sensitive to A1 protein, making an A2-only milk potentially easier to digest.

The dairy processor has already carried out DNA tests on 8,000 dairy cows in its supply base to identify those which produce milk containing only A2 beta-casein protein, and is now looking to recruit additional dairy farmers in Cheshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and North Wales for its Milk Group direct supply pool.

The company is offering conversion incentives to farmers, such as a conversion premium for the first 12 months, and will pay for DNA testing.

Wiseman would not be drawn at this stage on what A2 milk was likely to cost at retail. However, the company said those farmers who supplied milk into Robert Wiseman Dairies’ A2 milk brand would receive 8.8% more for their milk - the equivalent of 2.5 ppl - than those receiving the standard Robert Wiseman Dairies price.

The CEO of A2 Milk UK, Sean Uprichard, said testing results so far had suggested most herds contained about a third of cows with the A2 beta-casein protein required for A2 milk. “We will work with farmers to help find the best solution to either convert herds to A2 cows or to segregate the A2 milk,” he added.

A2 milk is one of the fastest growing grocery lines in Australia, where it holds a 2% volume share of the fresh milk category at retail. Wiseman has previously stated that if its success was replicated in the UK, the brand had the potential to sell about 100 million litres a year.