The UFU said there has been a substantial increase across all products in the last six months, but dairy farmers are yet to benefit from the booming market.
UFU dairy chair Mervyn Gordon said, “We’ve asked for a meeting with Northern Ireland dairy processors because the UFU milk price indictor has shown that dairy markets are continuously improving, offering significantly better returns than what processors are paying their farmers. They’re the primary producers but have yet to see the positive impact of rising commodity prices in the market which is completely unjust after such a long period of ongoing increases.”
Butter and skimmed milk powder (quoted by DDB/ZuivelNL) have increased by 57% and 48% respectively, and mozzarella (Trigona) by 46%. The NI base milk price has risen by 12% in the last six months.
“Our farmers have seen the data first-hand, showing the widening gap between market returns and the farmgate price they’re receiving from processors. We’ve been inundated by calls from members who are supplying various processors about the unfair price they’re getting for their milk. They’re extremely frustrated and angry. They want an explanation as to why the gap between the two is widening so substantially, as well as the opportunity to present a strong case for a more reflective milk price supported by the statistics,” Gordon said.
“This matter needs to be addressed by dairy processors with urgency. It’s only right that farmers receive a fair return for the high-quality product they are producing when the market is thriving. Processors need to stop dragging their heels on increasing the base milk price especially when dairy farmers, like all farmers across NI, are coming under increasing pressure due to rising feed, fuel and fertiliser prices. The milk base price is crucial for sustaining family run dairy farms.”
The UFU said it has been told the milk price is due to dairy processors experiencing increasing costs.
“Processors have said that their pricing is being impacted by rising processing costs. According to AHDB, the rise in energy costs and labor has increased the processing costs by 0.48ppl. Going by the figures, it appears that farmers are yet again being sold short. They’re taking the hit to make up for the extra expense processing companies have to meet but it will not be tolerated, especially when farm businesses are already under so much financial pressure,” Gordon said.