A survey conducted by the Ulster Farmers’ Union shows that a majority of dairy farmers are unhappy with their milk price and would be in favour of constituent pricing.
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The UFU says the results of the interim dairy questionnaire conducted on their stand at the Winter Fair 2019, accurately reflects the feeling on the ground.

With 212 responding to the questionnaire, the Union said it was a robust study representing 8.33 percent of dairy farms in Northern Ireland.

The milk price being paid by processors generated the most debate. 77.73 percent of those interviewed in the questionnaire were not happy with their milk price and 72 percent of those surveyed are in favour of constituent pricing.

Only 27 percent knew how their dairy processor calculated the monthly base price they receive and while the majority of farmers were happy with the milk testing service, 38.31 percent felt the service provided was either fair or poor.

48% of farmers were optimistic about the future for dairying in Northern Ireland, 41% were unhappy and 11% were unsure about the future.

Commenting in response to the results UFU deputy president Victor Chesnutt said: “It is clear that a number of issues need to be addressed in the dairy sector, particularly the calculation of the base milk price that processors generate each month. With the DEFRA consultation on milk contracts approaching, this is a timely opportunity to have this discussion.

“Throughout 2019 the UFU challenged local processors on the farmgate milk prices and we’re not surprised to see so many expressing their discontentment about the milk base price they received.

“Furthermore, the UFU have been calling for the debate to be opened on what constituent pricing may look like in Northern Ireland and the dairy committee have agreed that in collaboration with AFBI, a body of work should be conducted to look at this.

“One of the most concerning results from the questionnaire is that whilst the majority of farmers were optimistic about the future of dairying, a significant number were unhappy or unsure. We must use the information we have gathered to help improve certain aspects within the dairy sector, to ensure that every dairy farmer in Northern Ireland is receiving fair returns and can be confident about the future of their farming business.”

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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