Co-ops Must Step Up on Milk Prices as Farmers Continue to Need Support

IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Tom Phelan has said for many dairy farmers, spring only started two weeks ago. Major price cuts by co-ops in the last two months, in addition to the very poor weather, depressing volumes and constituents, and increasing feed costs, have eroded margins massively and caused major hardship and frustration for dairy farmers.

“It is crucial for co-ops to continue putting their best foot forward and supporting farmers by maintaining the strongest possible milk pay-out for April supplies,” Mr Phelan said.

“In this respect, and after Lakeland held their base price, the move by Glanbia to cut both base price and support was disappointing, and I urge other co-ops to do better,” he said.

“Market returns fell between September 2017 and January last. But since then, they have been firming steadily. EU MMO reported butter prices have recovered to €5450/t, more than double what they were two years ago, while SMP prices have increased by €90/t since last March. WMP prices are up close on €200/t since January, while cheddar cheese prices have lifted €100/t since early April.

“Latest EU MMO dairy price reports for 6th May suggest a milk price equivalent of 31c/l + VAT after deduction of a nominal 5c/l processing cost,” he added.

“Co-ops are now starting to benefit from firmer returns, and they must use this to continue supporting farmers through a very tough time,” Tom Phelan concluded.

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