IFA urges Irish co-ops to match EU milk prices

IFA dairy chairman Tom Phelan is calling upon Ireland's main dairy co-ops to add 1.5c to 2c per litre to bring their milk price in line with European prices.

Mr Phelan says Ireland’s main milk purchasing co-ops had underperformed massively in the Dutch LTO European milk league in the last 12 months. The LTO tracks the price paid by a selection of milk purchasers in the main EU dairy production countries. For Ireland, it tracks Dairygold, Kerry and Glanbia.

At just under 29c/l + VAT, the main Irish co-ops currently pay up to 1.5c/l less than the May Ornua PPI of 30.45c/l + VAT (32.09c/l incl VAT). The gap has increased in the last two months as the PPI rose and co-ops cut prices.

Mr Phelan said: “It is clear that Irish co-ops have been doing a much poorer job at remunerating their suppliers than the European private and co-operative milk purchasers tracked each month by Dutch farm organisation LTO in their Milk Price Review.

“The main three Irish processors are currently paying €2.25 less per 100 kgs of milk than the average monthly price reported by LTO. This is equivalent to just under 2c/l at 3.3% protein and 3.6% butterfat, the gap has widened dramatically in the last 12 months,” Mr Phelan said.

“In a couple of weeks’ time, co-op boards will start to consider their June milk prices. It is widely expected that volumes will have continued to grow significantly. Board members cannot depend on their fellow-farmers’ hard work to produce extra constituents and volumes and short-change them this month again on milk prices,” he said.

“The Ornua PPI is most likely to at least hold into June. Farmers need that extra 1.5c/l to pay the massive bills they accumulated during 2018 – every bit of peak milk income must be available to deal with those debts, many of which are with the co-ops’ own agri supply divisions,” he concluded.

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