The boards of Glanbia and Town of Monaghan have cut milk prices by up to 2.5c/l for May supplies, despite indications that the world dairy ingredients market might be improving.
Glanbia has cut its May milk price by 2.5c/l to 28.5c/l, while Town of Monaghan has cut 2c/l off its May price, bringing it to 29c/l. All prices quoted are VAT inclusive.
Arrabawn, the west Cork co-ops, Dairygold and Kerry are expected to announce their May price later this week. The west Cork collective is understood to be contemplating a cut of up to 3c/l to under 30c/l.
However dairy farm organisations insist that the international market for dairy ingredients is improving and co-ops should hold their May milk price.
ICMSA dairy chairman Pat McCormack said prices on the latest Fonterra Global Dairy Trade auction increased by 13.5pc, while Dutch dairy quotations increased in the last three weeks and the Northern Ireland Milk Auction was stable in May.
"It is absolutely essential that there is no further reduction in milk price at this time," he insisted. He added that co-op profits from 2011 should be used to support milk price if necessary.
Meanwhile, the Irish Dairy Board has agreed to sell its Belgian continental cheese packing operation, IDB Belgium NV to Royal FrieslandCampina. IDB Belgium NV, based in Genk, Belgium, had a turnover of about €100m last year.
IDB chief executive Kevin Lane said proceeds from the transaction would be invested in furthering the group's strategic growth plans and in international acquisition prospects.