Leave milk prices at May levels to protect farmers, urges IFA boss

IFA president John Bryan has called on the co-ops to hold May milk prices to protect dairy farmers, already hit by disastrous weather this month.

The IFA leader was responding to the main co-ops’ announcement of plans to cuts up to 3 c/litre on the April milk price. He warned the weather in May is costing dairy farmers dearly in lost production and increased costs.

“Dairy farmers all around the country have had to bring back cows indoors at night, and are now concerned about the quality and quantity of first cut silage they will be able to harvest next month. said Mr Bryan.

“2012 was already shaping up to be a high cost year for milk producers, and the recent bad weather will massively increase feed costs. Now, severe price cuts are hitting farmers at the peak time of year when they normally make the bulk of their annual income,” he said.

Mr Bryan stressed that the April 3c/l cut by the main co-ops would cost the average 260,000-litre milk producer around €1,800 on April and May milk alone. Those who have seen their prices fall by up to 4c/l (Arrabawn) stand to lose up to €2,500 over that period.

Meanwhile, Monaghan IFA dairy committee chairman Seamus Brennan noted the recent cut in the Irish Dairy Board index was primarily a cut in the butter price.

Mr Brennan said the IDB’s adjustment was a move to bring Irish butter prices in line with main European levels. He was responding specifically to the Town of Monaghan co-op’s announcement of a 3cl cut in its April milk price.

“I urge co-op board members, who will be making decisions on milk prices in the coming days, to do so prudently, uninfluenced by sensational reports or highly volatile auctions of limited relevance,” said Mr Brennan.

“How they adjust milk prices over the peak months will determine whether dairy farmers can start planning prudently for the development of their farms in coming years.”

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