Lakeland Dairies and Kerry Group both announced farmgate price reductions of 6c/L this week. This is the second consecutive month when the two co-ops made what IFA’s dairy chair has called ‘stark’ price cuts.
In February 2023, the co-ops slashed their milk prices again by 6c/L. Kerry’s base price for January was 50c/L inclusive of VAT for milk at 3.3% protein and 3.6% fat, down from 56c/L in December. The latest reduction means Kerry will now pay suppliers 44c/L inclusive of VAT.
In the Republic of Ireland, Lakeland Dairies has reduced the milk price by 6c/L to 46.85c/L including VAT for milk at 3.6% fat and 3.3% protein, while in Northern Ireland, the co-op slashed its milk price by 4pp; t0 38.5ppl. The February price includes an input support payment of 1.5c/L or 1.5ppl including VAT for all suppliers.
IDA dairy chair Stephen Arthur said the latest farmgate milk price cuts were ‘disappointing’ and have criticized co-ops for not passing on fertilizer reductions as quickly as they have been to reduce milk prices.
“While global urea fertilizer prices have fallen by over 50%, the co-ops have been more reluctant to pass on this on, but they have no problem in cutting milk price. It’s total hypocrisy and what could be described as an attempt to control the domestic fertiliser market. As we approach peak milk production, we need a sustainable milk price. Further cuts cannot be carried considering higher input costs,” he said.
“Global markets would indicate that markets have stabilised in the past month. When the global market was heating up, the rise in milk price was far more gradual, but now as things cool down, the price cuts are immediate and stark. A 6cpl cut represents a loss in excess of €40,000 for the average dairy farmer and this is the second cut this year.
“While we all expected a correction in the market, the cuts made by processors are record breaking for all the wrong reasons. Enough is enough,” he concluded.
Over in the UK, farmgate milk prices have also been sliding as processors scramble to balance their returns from the spot markets. Arla reduced its price for March by 3.52ppl for members and 2.54ppl for suppliers, while Muller Co-op Dairy Group’s contract price went down by 2.68ppl. Credition Dairy announced a 3.5ppl reduction, with Glanbia (4.0ppl) and Lactalis (5.0ppl) also cutting prices.