DAIRY farmers say proposals to cut milk prices next month could lose them as much as £60,000 a year.
Milk processing companies which buy the milk farmers’ produce plan to cut their prices by up to 2p per litre to as little as 24ppl from August 1.
Farmers fear the cuts, following a 2ppl cut on June 1, will lead to greater losses of up to 5ppl – equal to a loss of £56,000 a year for a farmer with an average-sized herd of 150 cows.
Dairy farmers – including a contingent from Huddersfield and Holme Valley – joined 2,500 other milk farmers in a protest outside Parliament.
Robert Nobles, Group Secretary for Honley and District National Farmers’ Union (NFU), joined the protestors in London.
Mr Nobles, who represents farmers in Huddersfield and the valleys, said: “Another cut will result in dairy farmers producing milk at well below the price of production and they cannot sustain it. This second proposed cut has sparked a lot of anger.
“The processors say they’re being squeezed from above by the supermarkets but we cannot produce it at a price that’s not sustainable.
“You don’t often get dairy farmers protesting because it’s very difficult to take a day off work when there’s cows to milk – but we had 2,500 in London.”
Robert Brook, who runs W H Brook and Sons at Wheatley Hill Farm, Clayton West, fears he’ll lose up to £60,000 a year if the cuts go ahead in August.
He said: “At the other end they should be putting the price up – in the shops by a couple of pence.
“Farmers are going to have to make a stance and the only way is to dump our milk and take it off the shelves.
“We have no guarantees or security. The situation is grim. You’re working 3.45am until 5.30pm each day to make no money. It’s soul destroying.”
Joan Newby, who runs Newby and Sons, Park Lane Farm, near Emley, says the job has become like ‘slave labour’.
Mrs Newby said: “Farmers are just mugs. It feels like we’re working slave labour. Everything goes up in price but milk goes down, so how can we pay our bills?
“We find it difficult to live off. We haven’t had a holiday for eight years.
“This new cut is crackers. They want to have a go and see how diary farming is done when you’re getting up at 4am for the tanker to come at 7am. I can see why farmers go on the dole.”
Currently milk costs about 30ppl to produce.
Milk processing companies such as Robert Wiseman Dairies, Arla Foods UK and Dairy Crest, buy it for about 27ppl.
Supermarket chains sell milk at approximately 78ppl.