First Milk Farmers Walk The Supply Chain

First Milk hosted a highly successful farmer event in Worcestershire to give members a better understanding of all the elements involved in the liquid milk supply chain.

'Liquid Milk Market – Understanding The Supply Chain' was run in conjunction with Robert Wiseman Dairies, EFFP (English Farming & Food Partnerships) and Natural England.
The event was an opportunity for First Milk members to follow their milk from the farm, via the haulier and on to the processor and to consider the challenges facing all parties to maximise returns, safeguard product quality and deliver maximum customer service.

Farmers started their day at Rowe Farm in Worcestershire, where First Milk member Matthew Field outlined his low-cost, low-labour model of dairy farming. Matthew and his father Peter milk 150 cows, producing 4000 litres per day – and for most of the year, there is just the two of them.

Matthew also explained his slurry system on the farm and Tim Ashley of Mucksmart, talked about the effectiveness of Matthew's system, as well as the implications of NVZ compliance. Tim also carried out a slurry sampling exercise to outline how all farmers could better utilise the nutrients in manure – in Matthew's case, it was a possible four figure gain.

The group of producers then moved on to First Milk's depot at Droitwich, where members learned more about how First Milk balances farm outputs and customer requirements. Robin Shipton of First Milk's Distribution Department, showed members how milk samples from every farm were collated and stored and highlighted the importance of keeping the milk at the correct temperature at all stages, as well as explaining our tanker hygiene procedures.

Finally, the group were taken to Robert Wiseman Dairies' Droitwich factory, where Procurement Director Pete Nicholson talked members through the production process, before leading everyone on a factory tour.

First Milk member Rob Bevan from Ross on Wye, said: ""I would recommend this type of event to every farmer because it is a really interesting way of seeing all of the components in the supply chain from start to finish. This event really helped me to understand the challenges throughout this process.

First Milk's Southern Membership Manager Lee Truelove said the event had been a huge success and he hopes to be able to repeat the session with other groups of members at other locations around the UK.
Notes to editors
First Milk is the largest dairy farmer co-operative in the UK. Its members' farms stretch from Central Scotland to the South of England, and from West Wales to East Anglia. The business has three divisions: Milk Operations; Cheese; and Ingredients.
Milk Operations handles approximately 1.8 billion litres of milk per annum from around 2600 producers. This milk is supplied to First Milk's cheese business and to many of the leading names in the industry. The First Milk Cheese Company is the largest UK-based cheese supplier. First Milk's Ingredients business supplies a range of customers with milk powder and whey products for functional foods, protein drinks, pro-biotics and pre-biotics
For further information, please contact:
Jill Coyle on 07825 625205
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