FALLING milk prices prompted an Oxfordshire farmer to take to the picket line to protect his business.

Dairy farmer Geoff Ridgway, from Down Farm, near Banbury, joined other farmers at a protest at a milk processing plant in Ashby, Leicestershire, on Thursday night. He said he worried about the future of his business, as big companies slashed the price of milk.

He said: “They have already taken 2p a litre off the price of milk, and they’re taking another 2p off in August. To take 4p off is to take 15 per cent off the price, and that’s just too much at the moment.”

He said farmers had to take the opportunity to make their voices heard before it was too late.

He said: “I’m a 65-year-old tenant farmer. I have a young family with a son and son-in-law coming up in the business. I spent my evening picketing because I feel very strongly about this. “We have to do everything we can.”

A Robert Wiseman Dairies spokesman said: “We fully understand the strength of feeling among dairy producers and continue to engage with those with an interest in the dairy supply chain.

“It is important to stress we are not in a position to fund a milk price at the level it was prior to the global collapse in the value of cream.”

Asda has reacted to the crisis by increasing the premium it pays to its suppliers, from 1p to 3p per litre, from August.