Brussels U-turn on milk price sees intervention extended
Commission decision comes as Lakeland Dairies cuts price to 28c/l
The EU Commission is to tackle falling milk prices after yesterday's farm council meeting moved to extend the intervention deadline.
The Commission had previously refused to intervene in the market. Yesterday's U-turn follows more cuts in milk prices here, with a 0.75c/l cut to 28c/l voted through by the board of Lakeland Dairies at the weekend.
It opens the way for the two biggest processors in the country - Glanbia and Dairygold - to implement further cuts when their boards meet this week.
With world milk prices close to the lows last seen during the major crash in 2009, the Commission agreed to extend the window for dairy processors to sell into intervention beyond the original September 30 deadline.
However, there have been no decisions yet on the key issue of intervention prices, which are equivalent to a farmgate price of 21c/l.
The Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, accepted this week that falling dairy markets was affecting Irish dairy farmers, and that this was likely to continue for some time.
"I have asked the Commission to look at increasing both the volumes eligible and price paid for intervention to a level that provides a realistic safety net," he said in a statement from Brussels yesterday.
"It's important to use the full range of market measures available and for the Commission to act early and decisively to put a price floor in place when appropriate," .