After rising 14% in April and by 21% in May, compared with year-earlier levels, UK farm gate milk prices are now becoming comparable once again with those paid in other EU countries. According to official EU figures, UK farmers have, on average, been at the bottom of the EU milk price league table for the past three years and have received at least l0% less for their milk than other EU dairy farmers. This has been partly due to the strength of sterling compared with the euro but the conflicts between Milk Marque and dairy processors, which have now eased with the winding up of Milk Marque, also played their part. Provided that the higher prices paid out by dairy companies in April and May are at least maintained for the remainder of the year, the average price in the UK this year should be close to the overall EU average, itself expected to be up by about 3% on 2000. This is one reason why UK milk production so far this summer has been above the levels of last year despite the foot and mouth culling. {{M/E CANNED GOODS }}

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