Winter milk sale talks at 'critical stage'
Negotiations on the premium to be paid for winter milk are entering a critical stage this week.
One farmer source said both sides were pushing hard for a deal but he admitted that there was also an amount of what he termed "hardball" being played.
With the October milk price being settled this week, there is serious time pressure on the talks.
IFA has stated that the target for the year is an annualised milk price of 40c/l. Most liquid milk suppliers are receiving an average of 44-45c/l at the moment.
However, liquid milk suppliers point out that this is because the manufacturing milk price is high rather than the winter milk premium being particularly strong.
They fear that if a favourable agreement on the premium is not in place, then liquid prices could fall sharply when the manufacturing prices comes under pressure in the spring.
Meanwhile, there was a further shake-up in the retail market for milk recently with the launch by Tesco of its Creamfield brand. Creamfield, which is taking up a third of the shelf space at Tesco outlets, will be supplied by Glanbia and is priced at €1.49 for a 2l pack.
Tesco's own-brand label is priced at €1.69 for 2l, while Avonmore's branded product has been cut to €1.89 for 2l in Tesco stores. It was at €2.19.