The price of our basket of dairy items recorded a slight rise in the ten weeks since our last survey, but it is still 9.4% cheaper than at this time last year and 11.3% less

expensive than when the survey began on January 4.

Milk provided the basket's only price change ( up 3.1%), as the major retailers' decision earlier this month to raise fresh milk prices by 20% brought greater stability to the market.

Our March basket recorded a 1p/pint price rise, followed by a fall by an identical amount in the following survey in May, and now the price has returned to the March level in the latest basket.

The National Farmers' Union's dairy policy adviser, Tom Hind, said: "There is now likely to be a period of stability for a few months, but unless there are serious changes in the way the industry operates there will be fewer farmers, less milk and a lack of confidence in investment among dairy farmers."

He said that there were serious long-term concerns about the viability and sustainability of the industry.

"Back in the spring Asda reduced retail milk prices and that led to widespread fears of retail pressure, but it was lobbying by ourselves that saw a reversal of what was

a nonsensical policy.

"Milk is one of the staple products, and prices are very closely benchmarked, so it offers no competitive advantage.

"In the past six to eight months we have had devaluation of liquid milk and constant price pressure on cheese being sold on promotion, and the effect of that has serious

implications for the dairy industry."

Own-label Blue Stilton is now 21.2% cheaper than at this time last year, Cathedral City Mature Cheddar is 6.5% lower in price, and own-label, free-range large eggs are 4.1% cheaper.

Butter remains the same price, own-label mature Cheddar is 1.6% more expensive and own-label fresh whole milk is 3.1% higher in price.