IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Sean O’Leary has said the latest average dairy product prices reported by EU member states to the EU Milk Market Observatory for the week ending 13th March showed slight uplifts for the first time in weeks for butter, cheddar cheese and whey powder, and stable SMP prices.
“Latest spot quotes from Germany (Kempten), France (AgriMer, ATLA) for SMP are also showing stability, while Dutch feed quotes are slightly up and food grade powder also stable to slightly easier. I expect that the doubling of the SMP intervention ceiling to 218,000t by the EU’s Agriculture Council early last week is at least partly the reason for this, as it is sending a signal to buyers that EU SMP will not get any cheaper in the short term,” Mr O’Leary said.
“French, German and Dutch official spot quotes for butter were also stable, while the UK spot quotes for cheddar were slightly down,” he added.
“I am mindful of the fact that the European peak is a number of weeks away yet, but I believe the increased intervention ceilings and the indications that flexibility would be forthcoming on APS for both SMP and cheese, may well be making an impression on markets at this point by persuading buyers that EU products are unlikely to get any cheaper in the short term,” he said.
“Meanwhile, we really need to see a continued level of support for Irish dairy farmers, who are now producing milk at a loss. All the industry stakeholders, including co-ops, banks and the government, must come together to provide price, merchant credit, financial and tax support for farmers who are faced with hugely variable incomes, and are carrying too much of the market risks as things stand,” Mr O’Leary concluded.