Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Page last updated at 13:10 GMT, Thursday, 7 January 2010
Farmers forced to pour away milk
By Laura Joint
BBC Devon

Cattle in the snow
Tankers are struggling to reach farms - this photo was taken in Chittlehampton

Dairy farmers stranded by the snow in Devon are having to pour away thousands of pounds worth of milk.

Milk tankers are unable to reach many farms, forcing producers to literally pour their milk away.

Among those affected are Gladys and John Crossman, who have 90 Holstein Friesians at their farm near Bampton in mid-Devon.

They have had to dump over 8,000 litres of milk after tankers failed to turn up for two deliveries.

The family has run the farm for 44 years and are used to weather disruption.

But seeing so much hard work go down the plughole is heartbreaking: "You can't switch the cows off," said Gladys, who does the milking with John and daughter Diane.

"They won't stop producing the milk, so we have to milk them."

The problem is their isolated position - the farm is at the bottom of a steep lane, some four miles from Bampton.

"The tanker usually comes every other day and we supply 4,100 litres per delivery. So losing two deliveries is quite a lot.

"I can use the milk to make cream, but then what do I do with all that cream? So it just gets poured away."

The Crossmans are in the National Farmers' Union (NFU) so are covered for a week. After that, they will have to bear the financial loss.

"We've just got to get on with it. We'll battle through," said Gladys.

Graham Hawkins
Graham Hawkins has had to dump thousands of litres

In the Exe Valley, dairy farmers Graham and June Hawkins are not so lucky.

They have just discovered they are not covered for their losses.

Their cows produce over 500 litres of milk a day, so each delivery every other day amounts to over 1,000 litres.

However, the tanker has not been able to get to them: "If he can't come, it goes down the drain," said Graham.

Both these farms supply Milk Link, and the milk ends up at stores across the country.

Farmers struggling in the wintry weather are asked to contact the NFU for advice.

Haldon Hill clear after snow chaos
13 Jan 10 |  People & Places
Thousands stranded in snow at Haldon Hill
08 Jan 10 |  People & Places
In pictures: Devon in the snow
11 Jan 10 |  Nature & Outdoors
In pictures: snowy Devon images
07 Jan 10 |  Nature & Outdoors
In pictures: Snow and ice in Devon
05 Jan 10 |  Nature & Outdoors


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific