Irish Farmers Association calls on co-ops and other processors to match market milk price

‘It’s about time the processors reflected what the market is paying’

The Irish Farmers Association has been urging processors, including dairy co-ops, to increase milk prices in line with market returns.

IFA National Dairy Committee chair Stephen Arthur said “time is up for processors on milk price”, pointing to market indicators which “return solid milk prices.”

“The processors are reluctant to pass it back to farmers,” he said. “It’s about time the processors reflected what the market is paying.”

His call follows a similar demand at the start of June, when Mr Arthur said: “May is the peak month for milk production and the markets are very strong at the moment. Our analysis of international dairy markets confirms that Irish farmgate milk prices do not reflect the buoyancy in dairy markets.

“Co-ops have a duty to their farmer suppliers. Any attempt to hoard market returns to shore up their balance sheets will be strongly opposed.

“Irish dairy processors are not returning the milk price in the marketplace. There’s an unacceptable gap between the market and what farmers are being paid.”

Soon afterwards, on 11 June, co-op Lakeland Dairies announced base milk price for June at 36c/L.

The processor said: “European milk supplies, which have been constrained by colder than average temperatures in recent months, are now increasing gradually in line with weather improvements across the continent.

“Worldwide milk supply is also increasing at a strong pace with the main dairy producing countries exporting higher volumes.

“While global dairy prices remain stable for now, concerns continue in relation to the ongoing pandemic crisis worldwide, the variable global pace of vaccinations and the potential for new variants to disrupt consumer and economic activity.

“Foodservice markets continue a gradual recovery, however this is coming from a significantly lower base in view of the ongoing impacts of the pandemic.”

The IFA called on other processors to follow suit – and this month is calling on all processors to match a market price of 38.11c/L.