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Caution urged on organic milk supply

Date Published: 08/09/2005

Organic Farmers & Growers is calling for a cautious response to warnings of an autumn shortage of organic milk.

Concerns have been raised by OMSCo and Rachel’s Organic of a gap in supply as the autumn and winter production slowdown approaches.

However OF&G has warned against a rush of new entrants into organic milk supply in response to this, believing that a large part of any shortfall can be met by existing producers.

OF&G Business Manager, Richard Jacobs, said: “We would urge farmers to be very cautious before beginning the conversion to organic dairy production. They must consider whether or not they are going to be able to get a contract to supply their milk as organic.

“We really need to avoid a boom and bust situation with organic milk supply. We have only just started to pull out of a situation where, for the best part of the last two years, we have been over-supplied with organic milk.

“What we do hope is that this will be good news for existing organic milk producers, who may be able to get a proper return for their efforts and for the extra costs of being organic.”

Mr Jacobs also stressed that, for anyone considering converting to organic, taking advantage of the Organic Entry Level Scheme required a five year commitment.

He added: “We would recommend that people talk to the milk buyers to gauge the likelihood of getting an organic milk contract.

“The price of organic milk is also critical. It needs to be realistic to cover the costs of production.”

OMSCo has called for a increase in farm gate prices to support an expansion of supply.