IFA President, Joe Healy, has acknowledged the move by retailer Iceland, to support Irish liquid milk farmers, who are experiencing extreme financial pressure as a result of the extended drought this summer.
Healy welcomed the statement by Iceland confirming that they have instructed its milk supplier to pass an extra 2c per litre directly to its liquid milk farmers in Ireland.
“The weather has been against dairy farmers over the past 12 months, firstly by the extended wet period and late spring in 2018 and the more recent two month period of drought conditions, which resulted in no grass growth in most dairy regions of Ireland. This has placed extra costs of between €5,000-€10,000/month on the average dairy farmer. Liquid milk farming is a specialised operation which incurs extra costs of feeding, labour management and capital investment. While growth conditions have improved in many parts of the country in recent days, there is a massive deficit in winter forage supplies which will continue to place a huge financial strain on all 1,800 liquid milk farmers in Ireland.”
John Finn, Galway liquid milk producer and National Chairman of the IFA Liquid Milk Committee added, “Irish liquid milk farmers operate on very tight margins in normal weather years with the cost of producing year-round liquid milk recognised as being 40 cent per litre. With the reduced milk price in 2018, liquid milk farmers are going to run at a deficit and the extra cost of feeding due to the weather conditions will only exacerbate the situation on farms. There is no scope to absorb a crisis like this and without substantial support from all retailers and milk processors, 2018 will push many of our liquid milk suppliers to breaking point,” John Finn warned.