Milk prices spark protests

DAIRY farmers in eight European countries protested in the past week over low milk prices.

A strike by milk producers in Germany was followed by protests in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Holland, Latvia and Switzerland.

Actions ranged from Latvian farmers giving away milk for free to Dutch farmers blockading milk factories.

French farmers warned they would blockade dairies that attempt to send milk to Germany. Farmers in Switzerland organised milk delivery boycotts.

The Austrian dairy union called on its members to cut supplies to dairies in half.

Up to 60% of Dutch farmers were fertilising their fields with milk and manure.

They were forced to end a blockade at one milk factory on Monday after a court ruled against them.

Dutch farmers have also let children swim in pools of milk as part of their action.

The DDB, which provides about 30% of Dutch milk production, said farmers were squeezed by high production costs, estimated at 45 cent per kg, compared to milk prices at 30 to 35 cents a kg.

Meanwhile, German supermarkets are reporting panic-buying due to the dairy farmers strike which started on Tuesday, May 26.

* Irish co-ops, represented by Glanbia and Kerry, ranked high in the Dutch Dairy Board’s March milk price comparison for 17 milk buyers across the EU.

The comparison standardises price at relatively high levels of milk solids, by Irish standards — 4.2% fat and 3.4% protein.

Kerry and Glanbia ranked fourth and fifth, in March, respectively at €38.80 and €38.78 per 100kg, compared to an average across the EU of €36.37.

In terms of rolling average price for the past 12 months, they ranked seventh and fourth, at €34.50 and €35.98, including most recent supplementary payments, compared to an average of €34.46.


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