The managing director of Wyke Farms, the UK’s largest independent cheese producer and milk processor, has today (23 August) urged the country’s retailers to keep dairy prices rising.

Wyke Farms warned that, without “substantial” price increases, there could be a “cheese shortage” in the UK.

MD Richard Clothier said: “Increasing prices must be the main vehicle for improving the confidence of UK dairy farmers in the future viability of their dairy enterprises and of the need to invest to ensure some growth in milk output to meet market needs.”

Wyke Farms said July had been one of the “worst months on record for UK milk production”. The company pointed to UK government figures that showed a 5% fall in milk deliveries. Wyke Farms also pointed to the effect the wet weather in the UK could have on forage supplies.

The Somerset-based firm said it had raised farm milk prices to stave off competition for milk from commodity manufacturers.

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By GlobalData

However, the company added that such commodity manufacturers are still offering premiums over cheese businesses and could raise prices further, leading to the possibility that farmers could move away from cheese to butter and skimmed milk powder.