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Muller Review Sees Notice Served on Aberdeenshire Farmers and New Haulage Charges for Others

A review of its operations in Scotland has seen major milk processor Muller exercising its rights and serving 12-month notice on 14 producers in Aberdeenshire.

In its review, Muller was seeking a reduction in the overall milk volume which it currently purchases from 230 suppliers in Scotland and the introduction of a scaled transport charge to offset the cost of moving surplus Scottish milk to markets in England.

That review will now see most Scottish suppliers face new haulage charges on all litres produced.  Depending on the volume of milk a Muller supplier has produced in 2019, when compared to 2017, they face new haulage costs of 0.25p per litre, 0.55p per litre or 0.85p per litre, amounting to a significant cut in income effective from February 2020.  The haulage charges will be subject to annual review.

Muller suppliers south of Aberdeen, who have seen their milk hauled to the central belt since the closure of Muller’s processing plant in Aberdeen, are unaffected by this new announcement although they currently have a haulage charge of 1.75p per litre.

Commenting on the Muller announcement, NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “This is clearly devastating news and the livelihoods and viability of all those Scottish dairy farmers supplying Muller have been undermined by the outcomes of this review.  None more so than the 14 dairy farmers in Aberdeenshire who have just been served 12-month notice by the company.

“Given the considerable commitment and investment made by dairy farmers, we now have producers looking to find a new buyer in the next year if they wish to continue milking cows while others, through haulage charges, face a significant cut in income at a time when milk prices are struggling to cover the cost of production.

“For those served notice, Muller are having a face to face meeting with these farmers in Aberdeen next week and NFU Scotland has asked if we can attend to support those farmers affected.

“Since Muller made its original announcement, NFUS has been in – and remains in - regular dialogue with several stakeholders in the sector in Scotland and beyond, including Scottish Government, in a bid to offer solutions to this announcement.

“It is a further sign of deep-rooted issues within the UK liquid milk market.  As part of a joint UK Union initiative, NFUS last week sent a letter to Rt Hon. Neil Parish MP, Efra Committee Chairman demanding an urgent, short-life investigation by Westminster into fresh milk to determine what has led to the recent destabilisation of the UK liquid milk market.

“NFUS have been offered full support on this issue from our colleagues in NFU England and Wales and NFUS is meeting senior officials from milk processor body, Dairy UK, next month to discuss issues surrounding the dairy supply chain in Scotland.”  

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 154/19


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