GLANBIA dairy farmers have called on their co-op, at a meeting in Dungarvan, Co Waterford, to pay the top price for milk supplies.
Nearly 500 suppliers urged the country’s leading milk processor to commit itself to a structure that ensures farmers are paid a price substantially higher than the national average.
Glanbia decided two weeks ago to reduce the price it pays suppliers for manufacturing milk by 1.5cpl for May and 1.5cpl for June.
It will pay 33.14cpl VAT inclusive for May supplies and 31.56cpl VAT inclusive for June milk.
The group blamed the reduction on continued volatility on global dairy markets and declining market returns.
IFA president Padraig Walshe said Glanbia suppliers have made many sacrifices to ensure the company would have the scale and efficiencies to take on international competitors and the retail trade, and the ability to invest and develop a higher-value product mix.
“They did so because they were led to believe that this would secure their future as milk producers, and would deliver them top milk prices,” he said.
Mr Walshe questioned why these suppliers are now being asked to take the same price cuts as the suppliers to commodity processing co-ops.
IFA Dairy Committee chairman Richard Kennedy said the Glanbia board cannot ignore the depth of feeling among its suppliers.
The cuts implemented so far have reduced the income of Glanbia’s average supplier by some €5,000 over the April to June period alone.
“This is at a time when feed, fertiliser and fuel costs are shooting up, and could reduce 2008 dairy incomes by over 10%,” Mr Kennedy said.
Glanbia managing director John Moloney told the meeting there had been a change in the international prices of dairy products.
“We have come off a significantly high price spike of last year but prices are still significantly above the levels of two years ago,” he said.
Liam Herlihy, chairman, who also addressed the meeting, said in a recent statement that Glanbia had absorbed much of the impact of falling dairy markets since the end of last year. He said while markets are volatile, there is evidence of prices stabilising.
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