Farm Ireland

Thursday 19 April 2018

Co-op boards urged to call halt to milk cuts

Joe Healy the new IFA president. Photo: Damien Eagers
Joe Healy the new IFA president. Photo: Damien Eagers
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

The boards of the country's co-ops have been urged to warn management that farmers cannot take any more of the pain of further milk price cuts.

The ICMSA's dairy chair Gerald Quain said further savings must only be found within co-ops and processors own structures.

"Dairy farmers are now at a situation where both their cashflow and income have been totally wiped out," he said. "The idea that co-ops can just keep on passing the hit back to the farmers is over."

It follows a month that saw some processors further cut milk price cheques, with some now on a base price of 22c/l.

After a meeting with Glanbia, IFA president Joe Healy said both Glanbia Ingredients Ireland and the plc must be "prepared to share the pain of low market prices".

He said farmers feared they were being made to bear more than they can take and worry constant dipping into co-op resources is "simply not sustainable".

Mr Healy said Glanbia must be more open to supporting prices from its own resources, show empathy and "prove they are sharing the risk more fairly".

The ICMSA's Mr Quain said the EU's move to lift the intervention ceiling on milk powder and butter to 218,000t and 100,000t was welcome. However, he said the reality for farmers was the product will go into intervention at 21c/l and will not increase the price of milk for farmers. He called for an increase in the intervention price to 28c/l.

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Agri consultant Mike Brady said the previous experience has shown that most actions coming from Europe were "token political gestures" and would have little impact for farmers. He said cashflow was tight and urged farmers to worry about the costs they can control inside their farm gates.

"Don't be worrying about things you can't change," he said, such as milk price. He urged those with a deficit to examine their accounts and seek help with any issues.

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