CUMBRIAN dairy farmers who supply First Milk will receive a May milk price lift.

Members will also receive their member premium on April 20.

The owners of the Lake District Creamery at Aspatria has announced its member milk price will increase by 0.5ppl on a manufacturing basis from May 1. This takes the price to 29.43ppl.

The change to reporting on a manufacturing standard litre is due to all members now being paid on manufacturing contracts. The dairy said the 4.2 per cent butterfat and 3.4 per cent protein also more accurately reflected the quality of milk members were producing.

Members will also receive their member premium on April 20 for the milk they produced in 2020/21 milk year. For the average member this is just over £4,800.

Robert Craig, Cumbrian dairy farmer and First Milk farmer director and vice-chairman, said: “I am delighted we are able to increase the price paid to our members. It goes some way to reflect the increasing costs they are experiencing in their businesses.”

Last week First Milk – together with Nestlé and Agricarbon – announced the launch of a pioneering soil carbon capture project – the first of its kind in the world.

The project, which establishes a comprehensive and scientifically robust soil carbon baseline for First Milk farms, will use state-of-the-art machinery to carry out intensive soil carbon analysis at a fraction of the usual costs. The approach allows soil carbon sequestration to be quantified over time to support the net zero ambitions of First Milk farmers and customers alike. The initial phases of the project are being conducted in partnership with Nestlé, which is supporting this as part of its climate journey road map.

Meanwhile, despite a dip in its 2020 pre-tax profits, Meadow Foods continued to ‘perform well in a challenging marketplace’. Announcing its year-end results for March 31, 2020, the dairy reported a pre-tax profit of £24.3m on a turnover of £429m, down £1.3m from £25.6m on a turnover of £456m in 2019.

The company also started a £4.5m investment in its factory in Peterborough, as well as the initial stages of investment into a segregated facility for plant-based ingredients at Chester, last year.

Mark Chantler, chief executive of Meadow Foods, said: “As a leading supplier of value added ingredients, we have focused on both investing in optimising our sites and diversifying our product range, most notably with the addition of plant-based ingredients to the portfolio.”

The dairy employs more than 430 people and handles in excess of 550m litres of milk from its producers each year.