Kerry Group will pay farmers an additional 1.5c per litre on all milk supplied during January, February and March in light of recent strains on dairy farms.
The group also cut its base milk price for March by 2c/l, down to 30.36c/l excluding VAT.
“In line with our milk contract commitment, we are paying an additional 1.5c/l on all milk supplied from 1 January 2018 to the end of March, excluding milk supplied under fixed milk price contracts,” a spokesman for Kerry Group told the Irish Farmers Journal.
This comes after the Irish Farmers Association urged dairy co-operatives to invest in the sustainability of their dairy suppliers due to the harsh spring weather and the current fodder shortages.
The IFA urged co-ops to invest in their farmers’ economic sustainability when setting their March milk prices, adding that supplier investment was at least as important as investing in stainless steel.
The long winter, late spring and hectic calving season left many farmers exhausted and stressed, while market returns continue to be challenging in this early part of the season, according to the IFA.
In response to the shortages, the Minister for the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., announced the allocation of €1.5 million towards the introduction of a fodder import support measure last week.
Last week, emergency delivery of animal feed from Britain started arriving at Rosslare Harbour to be distributed to dairy farms by a number of Irish dairy co-operatives.
Fianna Fáil’s Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue has urged the Government to spend an extra €1.5 million on measures to alleviate the fodder crisis, according to the Irish Examiner.
The party has demanded a hardship fund be set up for small and medium-sized farms, which have suffered from the shortage.
“Fodder has run out, there is no end in sight to the bad weather and growth has been very much behind,” McConalogue said. “Farmers are under very much financial pressure, they are also under a lot of mental strain, and also we have animal welfare issues as a result of the fact that animal fodder is very scarce in the country.”
“Unfortunately, the Government has been caught totally cold in relation to the response in this issue.”
The fodder crisis is scheduled to be discussed in the Dáil tonight.
Other dairy co-operatives have also cut their March milk price last week.
Cross-border co-op LacPatrick Dairies cut its milk price by 2.5c/l in the Republic of Ireland and by 2p/l in the North.
“We, as a board and a co-op, are very aware of the fact that spring has been exceptionally tough on farmers with fodder shortages, but we must ensure that the co-op remains in a strong financial position,” said Andrew McConkey, chairperson of LacPatrick.
The country’s largest dairy processor Glanbia met last Thursday to set its base price 2c lower to 28.46c/l excluding VAT.
“While dairy markets continue to be relatively weak, Glanbia is very conscious of the challenges currently faced by our suppliers and we will continue to do as much as possible to support them,” said Henry Corbally, Glanbia’s chair.