IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Sean O’Leary has said the Committee are starting this week on a series of meetings with all dairy co-ops on behalf of milk producers facing into a tough cash flow situation this spring.
On the agenda of those meetings: milk prices for 2016, devising volatility risk management instruments for farmers, pre-election lobbying on tax solutions for volatile incomes, industry efficiency and consolidation, and the need for co-ordinated action on those and other issues through the Dairy Forum.
“When you look closely at the price dip of 1.6% in this week’s GDT auction, you see that it was largely influenced by a correction of whole milk powder prices after massive increases in the recent past. Butter, cheddar cheese, lactose and casein prices continued this week on the upward trend started in December. I would still take it to indicate buyers’ expectations of lower product availability as NZ and US production forecasts have been further revised downwards,” Mr O’Leary said.
“While supply and demand are undoubtedly in the process of rebalancing, there will likely be a few challenging months in 2016 for Irish dairy farmers, as their cash flow are affected by already low milk prices and seasonally poor constituent levels in the first quarter of the year,” he said.
“This is why we in the IFA National Dairy Committee has decided to meet up with co-ops as early as possible this month with a view to establishing their plans to support farmers through the short-term cash flow crisis. We also will deal with the longer term issues, as farmers cannot be left to shoulder alone the impact of prolonged low market returns, but must be satisfied that, through improved efficiencies, risk management offerings and other supportive measures, their co-ops are working to help them cope with volatile incomes,” he said.
IFA’s series of meetings with co-ops is starting this week in west Cork, and next week in the north east and Tipperary. “We plan to have most co-ops met in January,” Mr O’Leary concluded.