Wyke Farms, the UK’s largest independent milk processor and cheese producer, has called for UK retailers to increase dairy prices to avoid a cheese shortage. The farm claims that without the increases milk will be lost to the export market causing a shortage for cheese makers.
Wyke Farms, which is still family run, has called for an increase after milk production levels dropped in July making it one of the worst months on record. According to the Department of Environment, Food and Rurual Affairs, milk deliveries dropped by 5%, which is worse than the 1% decline in year on year production in the second quarter.
The downward trend is expected to continue after the wet weather damaged forage supplies leading to an increase in winter feed costs. It is expected that milk production will drop below 1 billion litres for only the second time.
Wyke Farms managing director Richard Clothier says: “Increasingly prices must be the main vehicle for improving the confidence of UK dairy farmers in their future viability of their diary enterprises.”
The milk available is understood to be taken out of the cheese market and into milk power and butter production. Irish cheddar production is thought to be down by as much as 18% so far this year.