IFA National Dairy Chairman today (Tuesday) said the decision by the Dairygold Co-op board to cut their February milk price by 1.5c/l to 24c/l incl VAT was all the more disappointing when Lakeland, Glanbia and Kerry all held their price for last month’s milk.
Sean O’Leary said dairy markets had been weakening for months, directly impacting farmgate prices, which motivated major decisions by the Council of EU Agriculture Ministers in Brussels yesterday. However, while farmers hope these measures will have a positive impact over the coming weeks, they are, in the meantime under unprecedented cash flow pressure – causing an economic crisis on those farms, but also a crisis of confidence.
“Milk prices have been falling steadily for well over a year, and in the face of lower constituents and higher input bills this spring, farmers really need the type of support most of our co-ops have given in the second half of 2015 to continue into 2016,” Mr O’Leary said.
“It is simply unfair and unsustainable to expect farmers to continue in expansionary mode without support when prices have fallen below production costs for such a prolonged period,” he said.
Mr O’Leary urged all other co-op board members, who will be meeting in coming days to set the February milk price, to follow the example of Lakeland, Glanbia and Kerry by continuing to support and hold the price.