ICMSA say dairy year “not shaping up well” and call for mid-year ‘top-ups’ from low-paying Co-ops.
The Chairperson of the ICMSA Dairy Committee, Noel Murphy, has bluntly said that the dairy year is not shaping up well: “From high inputs to poor weather conditions, 2023 has been very hard for dairy farmers from a financial and farm management perspective. Add in the changes to the nitrate’s regulation and the potential changes to come and it is hard to be optimistic as to where milk volumes will be produced in the coming years. Margins in 2023 will be incredibly tight given milk price and the mysteriously slow rate of input price decreases. There is no doubt that markets have recovered from their lowest point earlier in the year, but there does appear to be just a pause before buyers re-enter the market and demand feeds through, In any case, we are adamant that there is no case whatsoever for further cuts to milk price.”
Referring to that broader position, Mr. Murphy called on Kerry and other Co-ops occupying what he described as “disappointingly low positions” in the ICMSA Milk Price Tracker to consider ex gratia mid-year ‘top-up’ payments to their suppliers. Mr. Murphy said that several Co-ops had allowed a quite shocking differential to open up between the price they paid their suppliers and that paid by comparable processors. Rather than attempting to ‘inch’ their way back to a parity, the ICMSA Chairperson proposed a mid-year ‘top-up’ to be paid by the underpaying Co-ops that would restore their overall payments to their member-suppliers to something resembling the correct levels. The ICMSA Dairy Chairperson said that the 4cpl difference between top and bottom payers we are currently seeing would “be eyebrow-raising in December – but in June is a public disgrace”.
Returning to the question of upcoming and future milk price announcements, he was categoric in his dismissal of any prospect of further cuts: “That can’t happen; there’s no data to support that anywhere and we are sure that this frankly dishonest option if ‘off the table’ for the foreseeable future.”
Ends 18 July 2023
Noel Murphy, 086-3815575
Chairperson, ICMSA Diary Committee
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
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