Supermarket giants stay silent on growing crisis in liquid milk
Many of the country's largest supermarket chains are staying silent on a growing crisis in the liquid milk sector, despite dire warnings from industry insiders.
Only Musgraves and Aldi have addressed key questions posed by the Farming Independent about the future of the sector after Denis Murphy, chairman of the National Milk Agency (NMA), claimed it had reached a "tipping point" in the State body's annual report.
"The confidence of registered producers in the all-year-round supply model for liquid milk for the domestic market has been shattered by the costs incurred in winter milk production in 2012/13 and the absence of any market response at that time," said the former Ballyclough chief executive.
The NMA commissioned Teagasc's winter milk specialist, Joe Patton, to analyse the impact of higher costs on liquid milk producers last winter.
Despite conveying Dr Patton's conclusion that liquid producers would incur an additional 4c/l due to higher feed costs to processors and retailers, Mr Murphy said there had been no response from processors or retailers.
He added that the 7c/l increase that had been agreed between some retailers and the country's largest retailer, Glanbia, last month was not enough to stop the sector haemorrhaging suppliers over the next 12 months.