Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA has said he is “cautiously optimistic” following a fourth consecutive rise in prices at the New Zealand GDT.
The MLA said that there was cause for optimism for the local dairy industry given that prices have been on an upward trend despite some predictions of a tailing-off.
Mr Irwin said: “As a Dairy farmer I keep a very close watch on the markets and there is I believe a cause for optimism as we are seeing a continuing upward trend and this is continuing through the winter months when productions costs are at the highest.
“When we consider that input costs for production have risen, for instance in concentrate costs, then this obviously squeezes margins for farmers. Farmers are always trying to balance production costs with what can be expected in return for their produce and the dairy sector has known very difficult times in recent years.
“What the current price trend will do is give farmers some degree of optimism that prices are holding and whilst we are wise to the fact that global demand and markets can change, there are signs of stability and those signs are much welcomed out there in the farming community. There was some concern last year that prices would fall however the last couple of auctions have seemed to reverse that forecast and hopefully this can continue.”
Mr Irwin concluded:“With prices on an upward trend and as we are moving towards springtime, farmers can plan ahead and if stability can be achieved looking forward towards summer, when production costs lessen, then that will be important. It is vital that processors offer farmers the best price for their produce given the challenges and costs in production and the current positive global trend in pricing.”