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Stronger export returns raise milk prices

Milk prices have jumped by between 0.5c/l and 2.3c/l on the back of stronger returns from dairy export markets.

Glanbia were first to announce a milk price increase of 1.5c/l for January supplies, bringing its price to 31.5c/l including VAT. However, the move has been followed by all the main dairies. The highest price paid for January is from Arrabawn, who increased returns for the month by 1.5c/l to pay 32c/l including VAT.

The biggest increase for the month came from Tipperary who moved up 2.3c/l to pay 31.4c/l including VAT.

Dairygold and Centenary increased quotes by 1.5c/l to 31.5c/l including VAT.

Meanwhile, Lakeland Dairies is also on 31.5c/l following a 1c/l hike in the January milk price.

Connacht Gold and Town of Monaghan both lifted prices by 1c/l, with the former now on 31.1c/l including VAT, while Town of Monaghan is on 31c/l.

Wexford Creameries gave suppliers a 0.5c/l increase and moved to 30.29c/l including VAT.

A spokesman for Kerry said that while its milk price of 30c/l remained unchanged, this would be reviewed when spring milk production began in earnest.

The milk price increases followed a decision by the Irish Dairy Board (IDB) to increase the price it paid for butter by €150/t to €3,400/t and increase skim milk powder (SMP) by €150/t to €2,200/t.

The combined butter and SMP increases equates to the equivalent of 2c/l in milk price.

Sources in the processing industry maintain that the IDB move was not so much an increase in price but more a reversal of cuts that were introduced late last year.

IFA dairy chairman Kevin Kiersey said all indications were that prices were rising further in February.

"Co-ops will have the scope to increase milk prices further in the coming months to ensure that feed, fertiliser and fuel cost hikes do not prevent farmers from improving their margins in 2011," he maintained.

ICMSA dairy chairman Pat McCormack added that the milk price increases were clear recognition of the improvements in dairy product prices but cautioned that this should be viewed as a first step only and further increases in February were required.

Indo Farming