Marks & Spencer is to increase the milk price paid to its dairy farmers by 1.322ppl from 1 February to reflect rising feed costs.

It means that M&S’s dedicated group of farmers will be paid 33.58ppl for their milk, which is supplied to M&S through processor Dairy Crest.

M&S recognised its farmer suppliers were facing difficult times, said Steve McLean, M&S head of agriculture and fisheries sourcing. “It is only right that we deliver a sustainable return for their milk, using our established and independently verified model, which helps to reduce volatility for their farm businesses,” he said.

M&S’s milk pledge+ pricing model, which establishes the farmers’ milk price, is based on key production cost indices for inputs, including feed, fertiliser and fuel, as well as the retail price of milk.

M&S national milk pool chairman Mark Robins said the latest change reflected the significant increase in feed prices that had occurred over the last six months.

“The transparent milk price model that M&S follows reduces uncertainty and is of significant benefit to the farmers involved,” he added.