Wiseman announced a U-turn by shelving plans to cut its milk prices

Wiseman announced a U-turn by shelving plans to cut its milk prices

Robert Wiseman Dairies has confirmed it will shelve plans to cut the price it pays for milk following talks with farmers and its retail customers.

Wiseman was set to lower the price it pays suppliers by 1.7p per litre but this afternoon (27 July) announced a U-turn.

The company said: "Robert Wiseman Dairies confirms today that it will hold its milk price for Wiseman Milk Group members for August."

Wiseman had faced protests from farmers angry at its plans. Over the last two weeks, farmers had held protests at processors' sites across the UK after the country's largest dairy companies had announced plans for price cuts.

In the last 24 hours, rival processors Dairy Crest, Arla Foods and First Milk has said they would either postpone or withdraw their plans to reduce prices. The protests then centred on Wiseman and last night it was forced to close a number of depots.

Wiseman said its decision takes into account the recent concerns voiced by dairy farmers. 

"The announcement of the reduction though coincided with a period of adverse weather conditions and rising feed costs for dairy farmers which we recognise has caused difficulties for farmers. We have been engaging with our customers with regards to the exceptional circumstances facing the supply chain and the need for urgent and significant support. From our discussions to date, we are confident this support will now be demonstrated," Wiseman said.

However, throughout what has been a tense two weeks in the sector, dairy companies have pointed to the challenges they face, include a slump in the price for bulk cream, which had prompted the plans for cuts.

Wiseman, which is owned by German yoghurt giant Muller, said there had been "recognition" of the problems facing processors.

"We welcome whole industry recognition of the difficulties facing farmers and the acknowledgement that fresh milk processors, even those that are as efficient and well invested as Wiseman, are under severe financial pressure," Wiseman added. 

The dairy processor said it remains confidence it can work with farmers and its customers to address these issues.