Farm Ireland

Saturday 18 November 2017

Supplier hits 60c/l while Kiwis are 'losing their edge'

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Record milk prices are resulting in some farmers receiving an unprecedented 60c/l for their November milk supplies.

While only the top 10pc of suppliers are breaking the 50c/l barrier in co-ops such as Arrabawn, some farmers are getting closer to 60c/l because their herds have exceptionally high milk solids.

Gerard Smyth from Mullagh, Co Cavan, averaged almost 55c/l for his October milk deliveries and is confident that his November cheque will show a price of closer to 60c/l.

"November butterfat levels were 6.19pc, while proteins were at 4.44pc, which is higher than we've ever managed," he added.

The Lakeland supplier is drying off all of his spring calving cows this week. The 190-strong herd is bred from Jersey crossbreds with an EBI of €163 for the cows alone.

"We produced 370kg of milk solids per cow in 2012, but we eased back production in May of that year because we were worried about going over quota," he said.

Even though Mr Smyth will be well over quota this year, fantastic milk prices have encouraged him to "keep the foot on the accelerator all year".


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Protein and butterfat percentages are running at higher levels in co-ops around the country.

Dairygold said that they expected a significant increase in the number of suppliers that would net more than 50c/l for their November milk compared to October.

There was more good news for Irish dairy farmers with the publication of Rabobank's latest global production costs comparison. They show that milk production costs in Ireland are now some of the lowest in the world, with New Zealand and California both overtaking us on farmgate costs in 2011 and 2012.

Despite Irish land prices remaining among the highest in the dairy world, New Zealand and Brazil are catching up with three- and six-fold increases.

The increasing land costs have encouraged farmers to intensify production on existing land-bases, with production per cow rising by 30pc in New Zealand over the last 10 years.

The strong increase in the value of the Australian and New Zealand dollar has also contributed to Southern Hemisphere producers "losing their edge" over their Northern Hemisphere counterparts, according to the report's authors.

Kiwi exports have also lost competitiveness through a 75pc increase in value of the New Zealand dollar against the US dollar over the last decade.

Irish Independent