BRITAIN'S dairy farmers are not out of the woods yet, according to the Tenant Farmers Association (TFA), which is warning of a tough winter ahead.
It said further increases in the cost of feed and fuel would squeeze margins and prevents farmers from reinvesting in the future of their business.
TFA national-vice chairman Stephen Wyrill said: “It seems that profit is a dirty word, but it is profit that will drive future investment, efficiency and performance.
“Dairy farmers cannot continue to survive on thin air.
“Looking ahead to this winter it is anticipated that we will see increases in feed, fodder and fuel costs which will once again push dairy farmers into a deficit position.
"Politicians talk much about the responsibility that dairy farmers have to control costs. As a dairy farmer myself I know how much this grates given the extent to which we have no control over many of the costs we have to face.
“With bovine TB, adverse weather conditions, increasing oil prices, tightening grain markets, burgeoning regulation and increasing farm rents all adding to the cost burden, I often wonder what it is exactly politicians are asking us to do.”
He said that despite the summer of protests over milk price, the majority of payments remain linked to the cost of production.
Mr Wyrill said: "Partnership in the supply chain is much talked about. The voluntary code of practice, once it has cleared its regulatory hurdles, will help set a baseline against which partnership can develop.
“However, true partnership will only be achieved when we see the supply chain fairly distributing profit between producers, processors and retailers. Sadly we are still some way off achieving that.”