Dairy farmers fond of their co-ops in 2017

Dairy farmers seem to be getting on better with their co-ops in 2017.

Compared to last year, more of the 127 dairy farmers in the Irish Examiner ICMSA farming poll expect to be supplying the same dairy co-op with milk five years from now, are happy with their co-op’s milk supply agreement, and would not like to see their dairy co-op becoming part of an amalgamated larger group.

Sticking with the co-op for at least five years is the intention of 90%, compared to only 74% last year, and 82% in 2015.(On this topic, only 9% neither agreed nor disagreed in 2017, leaving only 1% disagreeing).

The milk supply agreement is OK for 77%, compared to 59% in 2016, and 72% in 2015 (see poll results, right).

And when asked if they would like to see their dairy co-op becoming part of an amalgamated larger group, only 23% agreed, with 18% non-commital on this question. The 23% compares with 38% a year ago, and 23% in 2015.

Further breakdown of these responses is statistically unreliable because of the small survey size.

However, the 47% of those aged under 34 who would like to see their dairy co-op becoming part of an amalgamated larger group is noteworthy, with only 22-27% of the same mind in other age categories.

These responses indicate that dairy farming is settling down after the disruptive scrapping of EU milk quotas in April, 2015, and the scramble to increase milk production, which the poll reveals is slowing down now.

The 127 dairy farmers interviewed (there are approximately 17,800 dairy farmers in Ireland) were asked, “It has been predicted that milk production may grow 50% by 2020. In light of this by how much would you intend to change your output, if at all?”

Their responses show that 37% of dairy farmers anticipate a growth of 10-30%.

This is nine percentage points down on the 46% of dairy farmers anticipating the same growth in 2015, but stronger than 2016’s very flat level. Just like last year, no farmer intends to decrease production, whereas 2% intended this in 2015.

Irish Examiner ICMSA farming poll

The Irish Examiner ICMSA farming poll was designed to provide a robust and accurate snapshot of the attitudes, beliefs and opinions of the farming community about a range of issues, both farming and social. The survey involved 569 interviews with farm dwelling adults in the Republic of Ireland.

Fieldwork was completed by Behaviour & Attitudes over a two-week period between August 13 and 27, with interviewing undertaken onsite by Behaviour & Attitudes interviewers across eight agricultural shows. The sample size is large and the data has a statistical margin of error of +/-4%.

The sampling approach involves a random probability method, with interviews being undertaken with attendees provided they worked and/or lived on a farm. 429 interviews were with farmers themselves, 31 with non family, farm employees, and the balance with spouses (66), most of whom -5 out of 6- personally work on the family farm as well.

All data is copyrighted by the Irish Examiner and Behaviour & Attitudes and should be attributed to this source where quoted.

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