ICMSA: Co-ops need to explain why they will not raise milk prices

The ire of the dairy sector at continuing static prices which are also defying international price trends was taken up by the chairman of the ICMSA’s Dairy Committee, Ger Quain, who called for a valid explanation as to why no milk price rise was granted for November.

It is no longer sufficient for processors to issue ‘no comments’ in a situation where prices have been buoyant over the last series of months but the price paid to suppliers remains resolutely in the same place. In the absence of any explanation, farmers are entitled to regard the co-ops as also having ‘pocketed’ the improved prices.

“Prices have increased on the back of lower supplies across the European continent in all the major dairy products. Dutch dairy quotes are showing a five cents per litre increase in the industry standard Butter/SMP mix since September, while WMP is up over four cents in that same time period. This must also be put in the context of the Ornua PPI which stands at 31.9 cents for November continuing the trend that has it consistently higher than the prices paid to farmer-suppliers by their milk purchasers,” he said.

Farm bodies in unison over price complaints

As the issues regarding the low price being paid for beef are now manifesting themselves in blockades by IFA members at specific units operated by the principal retailing groups, spokesmen from all three major farming organisations called for improved returns for producers this week.

The IFA has been mounting pickets at a succession of premises to demand better prices for beef cattle which languishes well short of what is being paid in Europe.

“From talking to farmers, it would seem that generally the price rises appear to be five cents per kilo for heifers and ten cents for steers. This still leaves the Irish price well short of the Bord Bia EU Benchmark and it remains over fifty cents off the UK price as their market continues to strengthen. The price there increased again last week and sterling improved to eighty-four pence last Friday,” the President of the IFA, Joe Healy, said.