Farmers and processors in stand-off over milk prices
A stand-off between dairy processors and the farm organisations over milk price was developing this week, with dairies rejecting calls for a lift in September prices.
Both the ICMSA and IFA claimed an increase in returns for September supplies was justified given the continuing strength of world dairy markets.
However, processors disputed this assertion, insisting that demand for dairy produce remained fragile.
While expressing disappointment that the Irish Dairy Board (IDB) did not increase its September pay-out, the ICMSA expressed confidence that an improved market situation "comfortably justified" an increase in September milk price.
ICMSA dairy committee chairman Pat McCormack stated that the co-op milk price being paid to farmers at this time was "noticeably lagging" behind returns from the marketplace and he noted that, since the start of September, the Northern Ireland milk auction price had increased by 1.9c/l, while the Fonterra auction price increased by 16.9pc on September 1, recovering the losses of both July and August.
Mr McCormack observed that reported prices on the world and EU markets during September have all increased, while prices on the British market have either increased or stayed steady.
He added that the Dutch dairy quotations for September 29 show that butter, whole milk powder (WMP) and skim milk powder (SMP) are €30/t, €100/t and €60/t higher respectively than they were on September 1.
"The latest EU Commission dairy market report states that the average EU price for butter, SMP and WMP is €3,577/t, €2,302/t and €2,919/t respectively. These are equivalent to 33.5c/l for butter/SMP and 35c/l for WMP at farm level. These are published figures and they demonstrate that farmers are not getting their fair share at present," Mr McCormack said.