Following a thorough review of its manufacturing operations, First Milk has announced to employees at its Lake District and Haverfordwest creameries proposals to improve productivity and efficiency. It will now begin a 30-day consultation period with employees over proposals for 30 redundancies, follows investments of £40m over the last 5 years that has provided a strong infrastructure at these sites.

CEO Shelagh Hancock commented: "We have made significant capital investments at our manufacturing sites over the last few years. These investments will continue, as the amount of cheese that we are manufacturing will increase next year and is forecast to grow further in the future in line with demand from our customer base.

"However, in light of this we recognise that we need to improve the strength, efficiency and flexibility of our main manufacturing sites and make the assets work harder. This will allow us to utilise both sites better and deliver improved returns to our farmer members.

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"The proposed changes would result in a reduction in headcount numbers, and it is proposed that around 20 roles are removed from the site structure at the Lake District Creamery, with around 10 roles removed at our Haverfordwest Creamery."

Ms Hancock went on: "At our manufacturing sites our specific focus is on driving more for less - producing consistent good quality cheese, while concentrating on high productivity and factory optimisation. These changes are part of delivering this strategy."

Market round-up

United Auctions sold 406 store heifers at Stirling on Wednesday to a top of 244.7p per kg and an average of 213.1p (+2.1p on the week), while 658 store, beef-bred bullocks peaked at 262.3p and levelled at 217.6p (+1.8p). One-hundred-and-twenty-two store, B&W bullocks sold to 159.1p and averaged 146.8p (-4p).

C&D Auction Marts Ltd sold a prime heifer in Dumfries for 234p.

In the rough ring 22 beef cows sold to 148p and averaged 122p, while 34 dairy cows peaked at 147p and levelled at 94p.

The firm also sold 1009 prime lambs to a top of £85 per head and 185p per kg to average 167p (-1p).

The 576 cast sheep forward saw heavy ewes sell to £114.50 for Texels and average £61.81, while light ewes peaked at £57.50 for Cheviots and levelled at £36.

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 907 prime lambs in Newton Stewart on Wednesday to a top of £82.20 and 180.5p to average 160p (-3p).