Dairy company Robert Wiseman has announced a cut in the price it pays farmers for milk, it what it says is hoped to be the final move in recent milk price decreases.

The price will be cut by 0.35 pence per litre to 19.76ppl, from this month. In order to create stability for our suppliers we have guaranteed this price through until January 2006, the company said. Independent milk price analysis has underlined the 0.6ppl gap between Wiseman and its competitors which, according to Pete Nicholson, Wiseman's director of Milk Procurement, is unsustainable.

"This is an extremely competitive marketplace, and to be paying such a large premium over our competitors is commercial suicide," it said. This reduction still leaves RWD paying higher prices than their competitors, which has been the case historically, the company said. "We hope that this is the end of this milk price saga," said Nicholson. "This reduction equalises movement throughout the year, leaves our members with a premium price and ensures we are able to compete. Our relative position on milk pricing is the same as it was at the turn of the year and we were comfortable with that."

"With this adjustment, competition will be on a more even footing and the whole Industry should recognise that there is no market related reason for a further deterioration in the price paid to farmers," he said. "This reduction has not been influenced by any downward pressure from our major customers."