Addressing an IFA protest of grain farmers outside Glanbia House in Kilkenny today (Monday), IFA President Eddie Downey accused Glanbia of short-changing hard-pressed tillage farmers on feed grain prices paid this harvest.
Mr Downey said the company’s price, which lags behind competitors across the industry, has vexed growers given the very difficult income situation they face after three consecutive years of poor market returns. He said, “Growers expect some solidarity from Glanbia this year as they struggle to pay off bills and meet their costs. The Board and management have to look again at the grain prices paid this harvest”.
Eddie Downey said, “Loyal Glanbia grain suppliers are extremely unhappy that their own shareholder funds are being used by the company to subvent the basic price paid for green grain this harvest. The Glanbia grain price, inclusive of the shareholder bonus, only matches the prevailing market price for green grain and this is unacceptable”
He said the shareholder fund was set up specifically to support growers through difficult periods when incomes are under pressure due to low commodity prices or other extreme events. It was never envisaged that the fund would be used to subvent prices which are shy of the prevailing market price paid by others.
IFA Grain Chairman Liam Dunne said growers have also been angered by a number of contract changes unilaterally imposed by Glanbia, including the imposition of cuts to the premium for Sturm contract oats (premium payable on 80% of delivered tonnes); changes to the bushel weight standard (moving from 52kph to 54kph); a further reduction of the premium of €10/t for gluten free oats and an insistence of a minimum field size of 20ac.
Mr. Dunne said that Glanbia’s grain drying charges at €36/tonne are also well out of line with the norm and these costs are going to have to be reduced as part of ensuring that competitive forward selling grain opportunities are provided to growers.