The ICMSA estimates that a €2,400 gap has now opened up between the best and worst paying co-ops.
Deputy president of ICMSA and chairperson of the dairy vommittee Pat McCormack said the gap between the top and bottom paying co-ops for milk is now very significant.
“In the case of those co-ops at the bottom, board members are being left with serious questions about the reasons for the massive gap and an obligation to take immediate steps to address it. It’s high time co-ops stopped talking down the milk price outlook and instead instilled a level of confidence in their suppliers who are facing a very expensive winter period given the quality of fodder available and very expensive concentrate prices.
“Markets have improved, indications are that they will further improve, and it is about time the strategy of simply passing back the problem of poor markets to farmers is changed. Farmers cannot — and will not — take all the heat of poor markets,” said Mr McCormack.
Mr McCormack noted that two farmers, both with quotas of 300,000 litres, but where one is supplying into the top paying co-op and the other into the lowest are now looking at a difference in their milk cheque for May/June alone of about €2,400.
“This is a massive difference and one which farmers in the poorer paying co-ops simply cannot carry. It is quite clear that markets have improved,” he said.
Mr McCormack cited as evidence that markets as improved:
* The Northern Ireland Milk auction in July increased from the equivalent of 28 cents per litre to 30.6 cents.
l The Dutch dairy quotations since the end of May have increased from €2,420/tonne to €2,700/t for butter, €2,350/t to €2,480/t for WMP, €1,980/t to €2,200/t for SMP and €820/t to €890/t for whey.
* Figures published by An Bord Bia show clear improvements in products prices since the end of May.
Mr McCormack said the outlook for milk prices has certainly improved and it is also significant that UK processors have withdrawn proposed price cuts for August due to farmer pressure: “There have been improvements indairy markets and it is about time milk processors acknowledged this and that the poorer paying Co-ops stepped up to the mark on milk price.”
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