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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 July 2007, 16:37 GMT 17:37 UK
Milk costs hit Stilton producers
Stilton cheese
Stilton is a popular blue-veined cheese from the East Midlands
Stilton cheese makers in the East Midlands are struggling to keep prices down as a shortage of milk affects the dairy industry.

Farmers are warning the cost of milk could go up as food prices generally are affected by the bad weather.

Cheese makers in Long Clawson, Leicestershire said Stilton prices are set to rise from 7.80 a kilo to 8.30.

Many diary farmers are converting their milk to powder and selling it overseas - which is also driving up prices.

Martin Harris of Long Clawson Dairy, which produces 3,000 tonnes of cheese a year, said: "We are going to have to pay 3.5p per litre more for milk which will equate to 35p per kilo or 3.50 per tonne more for the cheese we make."

More investment

Milk prices at the farm gate in May were more than 4% higher than last year, according to the council.

The milk price increase is caused by a combination of worldwide pressures and cost increases in the UK related to the bad weather, a National Farmers' Union spokeswoman said.

Poor weather forces cattle inside which can increase feed costs and result in lower yields.

The increase in milk prices has been welcomed by dairy farmers who hope to plough back some of the money into their businesses.

Dairy farmer Paul Egglestone of Long Clawson said: "These price rises are encouraging and hopefully they will allow reinvestment in dairying and encourage younger farmers into dairying in the East Midlands."

According to the Milk Development Council, mild cheddar increased by 350 per tonne compared to June last year, unsalted butter prices were up 600 per tonne and bulk cream prices rose 390 per tonne.

Authentic Stilton has to be made within Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Stilton maker talks about the impact of the milk shortage



SEE ALSO
Minister defends Stilton changes
02 Mar 06 |  Nottinghamshire
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14 Jan 04 |  Cambridgeshire
Cheese-tasters may get 1m cover
27 Oct 05 |  Leicestershire

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