IFA National Liquid Milk Chairman Teddy Cashman today (Tues) said it was the pressure of feed bills and other rising production costs which had pushed liquid milk producers to protest outside the country’s five main dairies today. “It’s very simple: we’re going broke supplying liquid milk,” Mr Cashman said.
Speaking outside the glanbia plant in Ballitore, Co Kildare, Mr Cashman explained that, to guarantee constant supplies of fresh, high quality milk on supermarket shelves for consumers, liquid milk producers have to produce milk year-round. This involves substantially higher costs than those incurred by creamery milk suppliers, especially in the areas of feed and energy.
“While every dairy operates different milk pricing systems, all liquid milk producers today are producing milk for a price which does not cover our production costs. We need an annual average price of 40c/l to cover costs and pay a modest wage for our own labour, but our prices fall around 7c/l short of this break-even target,” he said.
Teddy Cashman said, “This means that the specialist liquid milk supplier producing 250,000 litres is losing €17,500 over a whole year’s milk supplies. This situation is totally unsustainable, and over a relatively short period of time will put the availability for consumers of locally-produced, fresh, high quality milk under threat”.
“To remunerate liquid milk producers fairly, dairies need to sell our milk harder and negotiate the equivalent of an additional 8% of the current average retail price to pass it back to us,” he said.
Mr Cashman said, “This also means that retailers must take more responsibility for the sustainability of their supply sources, and this does not have to cost consumers whose household budgets are increasingly hard pressed”.
“Liquid milk producers are struggling to pay their winter feeding and energy bills. It is essential that dairies pay farmers a significant, and immediate, liquid milk price increase,” he concluded.