The IFA has insisted that milk prices should not be affected.
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The IFA is urging co-ops to support farmers in this period of stormy weather. / Philip Doyle

The IFA has insisted that fears voiced by international traders regarding the coronavirus “should not be allowed” to overplay fears for commercial leverage and be used as an excure to depress milk prices.

“Legitimate global concerns over the spread of Covid-19 impact[s] all trade, but Fonterra – more affected than most by trading difficulties in China – have maintained their price and dividend guidance for 2019/20 at NZ$7 to $7.60/kg MS and 15c to 25c/kg MS respectively,” IFA national dairy chair Tom Phelan said.

I urge co-ops to support farmers

“The January 2020 milk price league indicates farmers were paid an average of 31.71c/l incl VAT, but excluding early calving bonuses which will disappear within a month.

“I urge co-ops to support farmers in this long, wet and stormy spring-calving season and ensure they get the February milk price increase which Irish and European indicators suggest remains fully justified,” he concluded.

Coronavirus impact

The statement follows on from comments made by Kerry Group CEO Edmond Scanlon that the impact of the coronavirus would take months to figure out.

Bord Bia has now added its concerns to the impact on Irish trade, especially as the Asian market had been pegged as a key area for potential growth for both beef and dairy.

The US stock exchange has taken a dip, leading to concerns that the global health scare could trigger a recession, although these fears have been dismissed by a number of outlets that pointed to previous global health scares which were quickly dealt with.

The delay in details being issued on the proposed dairy reduction scheme is “playing with the futures” of farm families, according to the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

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