Dairies urged to match the Northern price for March

Caitriona Murphy

THE NORTHERN Ireland milk price of 28.7c/l should be the benchmark for co-ops in the south when setting March prices, the ICMSA has urged.

The most recent milk auction in the north saw milk price set at 25.63p/L (28.7c/L), on the back of improved confidence on international markets.

ICMSA dairy chairman Pat McCormack said dairy farmers here should demand a similar milk price from processors in the coming weeks.

Pointing to the slow start to the milk production season in Europe due to the cold weather, Mr McCormack said market sentiment had improved significantly since the start of this year and the growth in confidence could be clearly seen in the prices being paid for dairy products.

"Dutch quotations for butter and powders have all improved over the past few weeks, while dairy product prices in the UK, the EU and at world market level have all improved in March relative to February and are significantly up on the catastrophic prices paid last year," he said.

Meanwhile, ICMSA president Jackie Cahill has warned that the European Commission's inability or unwillingness to engage with the EU's structural surplus is greatly complicating efforts to rebuild milk price within member states.

Speaking from Brussels, Mr Cahill said farmers would be greatly angered by the Commission's determination to pretend that their policy had nothing to do with the market collapse that began in late 2008.

IFA dairy chairman Kevin Kiersey urged the Commission to adopt a cautious approach on the management and release of dairy intervention stocks.

The management of intervention stocks currently overhanging the EU markets has been identified by all industry representatives as an issue that could most influence dairy market recovery in the short term, and consequently producer milk prices over the next few months, he warned.

Irish Independent

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