FARMERS once again blockaded the Dairy Crest (DC) plant at Foston in Derbyshire on Friday, May 30 and Sunday, June 1.

The protests were led by Farmers for Action (FFA) and were in response to the latest DC milk price cut of 1.25ppl.

DC said the protests had “not affected service levels”.

FFA leader David Handley said: “This is a taste of things to come if the milk price keeps dropping. DC’s price cut comes hot on the heels of the company posting record profits of £65.3m before tax.”

However, a DC spokesman said much of this profit had been underpinned by strong property sales over the past year, especially the sale of its Nine Elms depot in London (£17.6m), and the dairy market remained “tough”.

Mr Handley said: “This is a message to all processors thinking about cutting the milk price.

“Dairy Crest bosses told me, because they had not increased their price earlier in the spring, they would not cut it. This has not happened and producers are angry.”

Back in April, Lyndsay Chapman, DC director of agriculture and communications, said it would continue to compete on milk price going forward.

However, its standard litre price of 31.2ppl now lags behind Arla and Muller Wiseman.

Mr Handley said dairy farmers had targeted Dairy Crest because they could see “no justification” in the firm’s decision to drop the milk price: “Their decision to cut prices has incensed farmers.

The anger is coming back, which is very, very sad.”

Dairy Crest cut its standard milk price by 1.25p/litre from July. Therefore, farmers on non-aligned liquid contracts will be paid 31.19p/litre, while those on the Davidstow manufacturing contract will still receive 33.19p/litre.

Dairy Crest was the only one of the big four milk processors to hold its prices for both May and June, when Arla, Muller Wiseman, First Milk and several smaller companies issued 1-2p/litre reductions.