Commenting on the rise in the Irish Dairy Board milk price index from 111 in February to 114.5 in March, Pat McCormack, Deputy President and Chairperson of ICMSA’s Dairy Committee, said that this was a very welcome development and reflected the ongoing strength in dairy markets, particularly over the past number of weeks.
He said the index provides a direct indicator of the returns to Irish processors and it is now clear that all processors must increase their milk price immediately with a price in the region of the mid to high thirties now fully justified dependent on product mix.
“The decision of both Kerry and Glanbia to increase the March milk price to 35 cents per litre including VAT is certainly a welcome development and very necessary given the current pressures on dairy farmers.
“But these decisions should be looked at as a first step given the movements in dairy markets over recent weeks with all indicators from the Global Dairy Trade Auction, EU and UK published prices and now the Irish Dairy Board Index all showing considerable improvement.
“We note theDutch quotation which shows butter up €180 per tonne, WMP up €130 per tonne and SMP up by €150 per tonne which highlights again the ongoing price surge”, noted Mr McCormack.
“The financial and psychological pressures on farmers are growing by the day and now stand at levels that are of huge concern - and our milk processors know this very well via their farm input businesses. It will take a long time for farmers to recover from their current problems and it is imperative that processors immediately pass back the market improvements.
“In addition to the existing challenges, there is now growing concerns amongst milk producers that the normal peak milk production period, when dairy farmers would earn the bulk of their income, will pass with very poor production levels due to the disastrous weather conditions and this will further dent farmers’ revenue.
“That additional factor makes it more urgent than ever that the proper return is made to dairy farmers and we will be monitoring the speed with which Co-ops now follow the IDB”, said Mr McCormack.