FURIOUS Cumbrian dairy farmers could see a whopping 2ppl knocked off their farmgate price on April.

The news was broken, it is believed, at two meetings in the county this week when Meadow Foods, the UK's largest independent dairy and leading supplier of milk, held their annual meetings with their producers.

Around 80 dairy producers attended meetings at Stoneybeck inn, Near Penrith, and the Greenhill Hotel, near Wigton.

A north Cumbria producer, who asked not to be named, said the drop in the April farmgate milk price was blamed on Meadow Foods losing a milk contract for two million litres to dairy processor, Arla.

"It appears Cumbrian farmers, who supply milk to Meadow Foods, are going to take the hit. There was a lot of shouting at the meetings. Farmers were furious, and worried at how they would make a living with such a big drop," said the producer.

"Many asked to be let out of their contracts, but they were told by Meadow Foods bosses that wouldn't be happening," added the producer.

It is believed Cumbrian farmers will see their milk price drop to 24ppl in April.

Meanwhile First Milk, owners of Lake District Creamery at Aspatria, will hold its milk price from April 1, at the current level.

Current standard litre prices stand at 26.50ppl for liquid standard litre and the manufacturing standard litre is 27.38ppl, both including member premium.

Total member returns will increase, however, as its member premium is increasing from 0.25ppl to 0.5ppl from April 1 for members who have reached their capital target.

This means the processor’s liquid standard litre price, including member premium, will increase to 26.75ppl and its manufacturing standard litre will increase to 27.63ppl.

Jim Baird, farmer director and vice-chairman said: "Not only will our members shortly be receiving their member premium payment for the 19/20 milk year, but they are also benefiting from the doubling of our member premium from April 1."