Milk Link last week agreed to buy DFB's Llandyrnog hard cheese creamery and its associated operations in a deal expected to be finalised within days. The Welsh facility produces Cadog Welsh Cheddar, Double Gloucester and Red Leicester. The purchase will secure an outlet for the milk of about 300 DFB farmers, Milk Link said.
Lactalis McLelland bought the Lubborn soft cheese creamery this week in a widely predicted move. The Somerset factory produces Brie, Camembert and Capricorn goats' cheese and is considered a natural fit with Lactalis' portfolio.
As The Grocer went to press, up to a half of DFB's 1,800 farmers, who were released from their contracts automatically when they were not paid for a month's worth of milk, had already been taken on by rivals.
OMSCo has agreed to take all of the company's organic producers, while First Milk has signed up more than 350 farmers. Meanwhile, Milk Link has recruited 160, Dairy Crest has taken 100 and other suppliers including Meadow Foods and Arla are believed to be in negotiations with a view to taking on farmers.
However, hopes of selling off DFB's milk facilities received a blow this week when PwC announced the immediate closure of the Lincoln dairy with the loss of 127 jobs, citing lack of buyer interest.
Analysts warned that PwC would struggle to sell off the remaining dairies at Blaydon and Bridgend - locations regarded as geographically unfavourable.
"The liquid milk business left is largely middle-ground doorstep volume," said one analyst. "I'm not sure who will step in. It's less likely to be sold than the cheese assets were."
That might deter potential buyers such as Robert Wiseman and Dairy Crest, the analyst added.