FIRST MILK has announced that it will be holding its milk price at the current level for January 2020.

This means that its liquid standard litre price for January will remain at 27.00 ppl and its manufacturing standard litre will remain at 27.90 ppl, both including the member premium.

Commenting on the announcement, Jim Baird, vice chairman and farmer director, said: “As we head towards the end of the year the dairy markets appear fairly stable. First Milk continues to focus on maximising returns to our farmers and, as we look forward to 2020, we believe we are well-placed for the future, as we work together to deliver dairy prosperity.”

NFUS milk committee chairman John Smith, a First Milk member from Campbeltown, said: “It is it is comforting to see some price stability and a levelling off in milk production that might otherwise have put pressure on milk prices going into 2020.

“It comes at a time when, in the last couple of months, there has been a mix of price adjustment statements from other major milk buyers in Scotland and this is a similar story on a national basis. DEFRA report the average farm-gate milk price for October was 29.35ppl, which is out of reach to a large chunk of dairy farmers in Scotland.

“Confidence in the sector is always demonstrated by investment and it is reassuring for the UK dairy industry to see that First Milk has invested around £6m at Haverfordwest in the last 18 months and have commenced a similar programme of investment at its Lakeland site in Cumbria this year.

“This level of investment represents a significant commitment to the sites involved, and sends out a positive signal both for the wider industry and First Milk members in particular.”