Milk price cuts cannot be justified, says UFU

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The Ulster Farmers’ Union has appealed to dairy processors to think long and hard about the implications for farmer confidence if they are considering March and April milk price reductions.

Instead it says they should pay the full market return to their producers.

Speaking after reports that one processor was considering dropping their base price by a penny a litre for both March and April, UFU Dairy Chairman Jonathan Moore said: “This would mean a price as low as 14.50 ppl for April milk. This would be well below the minimum the market is returning. If you take the average price for dairy commodity products relevant to Northern Ireland, it is higher than this. Dairy farmers being threatened with price cuts know that,” he said.

The UFU says this price drop would come when farmers are hitting peak milk production, and when family farm businesses are already struggling to stay afloat because of the extremely prolonged period of low milk prices, and the knock on impact it is having on the wider rural economy.

“We recognise that the supply/demand equation is out of balance, but such savage price reductions are unjustified,” said Mr Moore.

The UFU has raised its concerns with the industry trade body, Dairy UK, and is planning to meet local processors to press the case for base prices remaining relative to what the market is returning.