Is your milk buyer moving in the right direction?

Published 24 February 12

Will the strategies put in place by your buyer provide the potential to offer a secure future for your milk?  That's the question that producers should be asking according to DairyCo's latest publication, the Guide to Milk Buyers. The publication provides a summary of the key contents of the nine Company Reviews on the major milk buyers that DairyCo has already published.

AHDB analyst Patty Clayton, who has written the series of reports and the guide, says: "In the current market environment of tight margins and rising costs of production, producers need to look at whether their buyers are able to move forward and take advantage of the opportunities available in the dairy industry.  While many have implemented strategies to deal with change, it is important for producers to consider whether the businesses they are supplying are making the most of the current situation and are investing for the future.

"Processors have become more strategic in managing the supply chain," explains Patty. "They are increasingly purchasing milk direct from farmers to ensure they have access to the delivery and quality features needed to meet the needs of the market."

Another emerging trend from milk buyers is the growing importance placed on developing long term relationships along the supply chain. Improved communication regarding market performance and the provision of on-the-ground support to direct suppliers is aimed at enhancing on-farm efficiency and profitability, which in turn should provide buyers with a stable supply base.

Securing access to key market sectors has also become increasingly important in order to ensure future growth.  "The strategies taken by the milk buyers differ depending on the sectors they are involved in," says Patty, "and they range from direct investment to enhance competitiveness, to strategic partnerships or acquisitions to expand market access.  Investments to increase capacity and production efficiencies are necessary although it will be important this is done in response to market demand.

"Over-investment could be detrimental if it leads to excess capacity and increased price competition in the market," explains Patty. "Investments need to be in those assets which can provide processers access to markets and market segments which are growing and able to return sufficient margins for financial security and continued growth."

The individual Company Reviews and the summary Guide to Milk Buyers: A review of strategy and performance can be downloaded from


Date 24 February 12 

For further information:

N:         Helen Fina        
T:         02476 478696

DairyCo's aim is to promote world class knowledge to British dairy farmers so they can profit from a sustainable future.

To achieve this DairyCo aims to:

  • Ensure farmers have access to world class information needed to improve competitiveness, GHG reduction and productivity
  • Ensure farmers have access to direct and indirect support to help them improve their profitability through better business management
  • Ensure that dairy farming is reducing its impact on the environment
  • Ensure farmers understand the benefits of breeding and use the related tools

DairyCo is funded entirely by milk producers, via a statutory levy on all milk sold off-farm, at the rate of 0.06p per litre.  This provides an annual income of around £6.5m.

DairyCo is a division of the statutory levy board, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).


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