Dairy farmers in GB are also engaging in protests

The farmers milk protest at Tesco store on the Castlewellan Road, Banbridge
The farmers milk protest at Tesco store on the Castlewellan Road, Banbridge

Disgruntled dairy farmers in Great Britain have been staging similar protests to their Northern Ireland counterparts against low milk prices

Morrisons supermarkets have announced they will meet farming industry leaders on the mainland next week to discuss the ongoing crisis.

Protesters across the UK, including Northern Ireland, have been taking part in the ‘Milk Trolley Challenge’ as well as blockading supermarket distribution centres.

The challenge sees farmers removing all cartons of milk from shops, including Morrisons and Lidl, before paying for it and taking it away or dumping it at the checkout.

Arla, Britain’s biggest milk co-operative, previously announced a price cut of 0.8p per litre – taking the standard litre price to 23.01p for its UK members.

Farmers estimate that it costs between 30 to 32p to produce each litre of milk, meaning they are losing almost 10p per litre.

On Thursday night, 1,000 farmers gathered at Morrisons depot in Bridgwater, Somerset, while 600 blockaded another in Middlewich, Cheshire.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Farmers For Action (FFA) thanked protesters for their “fantastic” support and urged them to target retailers other than Morrisons.

“Following all the recent activity in the last seven days, with Milk Trolley Challenged originated by young farmers, and protests held in Cheshire last week and again last night Cheshire (600 in attendance) and Bridgwater in Somerset (1,000 in attendance), Morrisons are to meet with industry leaders on Tuesday of next week to discuss the serious issue facing British dairy farmers,” it said.

“We would now please ask everyone to focus their attention on other retailers whilst talks with Morrisons take place. Well done last night to everybody, both young and old your support was fantastic”.

The National Farmers Union estimates that only 10 per cent of dairy farmers are on contracts that track their cost of production, with most selling milk below that cost.It added that farmers are suffering in lamb and arable sectors, with rapeseed, feed wheat and barley growers receiving less than the cost of production.

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