Farm Ireland

Saturday 20 January 2018

IFA calls for price lift to guarantee milk supply

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

An immediate lift in milk prices is needed to secure supplies through the coming year, the IFA has claimed.

With the country heading for a record shortfall for the current quota year, the farmer body said a price increase for last month's deliveries was in the interests of both producers and processors.

The association's dairy committee chairman, Kevin Kiersey, said an increase of at least 2c/l would put confidence back in the business ahead of the key production period from this month until May.

Supplies to co-ops nationall were 11pc below quota at the end of January and while the supply situation improved last month, the scale of that recovery will not have a serious impact on the overall deficit.

Supplies to the Town of Monaghan co-op last month were back 6pc on average and the Ulster dairy expects to be 8-9pc under quota for the year as a whole.

It is a similar story with Glanbia. The dairy was 57m litres (5.9pc) under quota at the end of January, while Premier Dairies was 14m litres or 5.7pc under quota.

Supplies are also well down in the southwest, where Dairygold confirmed that deliveries last month were 5pc back on 2009 levels.

"If co-ops are serious about maintaining supplies this summer then they need to give dairy farmers an additional 2c/l for February," insisted Mr Kiersey.

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He dismissed suggestions that poor milk deliveries over the past 10 months were due solely to the atrocious weather.

"Farmers would have fed cows through the bad weather to maintain milk production if there was money in it for them. This wasn't the case," Mr Kiersey claimed.

"This business needs a boost in confidence and the best way to do that is to boost farmers' bank balances."

Irish Independent