Irwin welcomes milk auction increase

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Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA has welcomed the latest New Zealand milk auction which saw a 3.1% increase.

Mr Irwin stated that the dairy industry needed a period of stability to allow farmers to recover from what he termed “a very tough couple of years.”

He stated: “The latest auction price has yielded another welcome rise and it does prove dairy is starting to show more positive signs in recent months. We have still some way to go and what farmers are saying to me is that they need a period of price stability.

“A longer period of market stability would give farmers some breathing space to focus on repaying in many cases sizable debts. Many farmers had to borrow heavily in order to get through what has been a very tough couple of years in the dairy sector.

“There is an important message for our banking institutions where they are leaning very heavily on our dairy farmers and putting big pressure on them to repay their debts over a very short period. This type of action by the banks won’t help our farmers at this time and they must realise that some leniency is required in order to allow our dairy sector to recover,” added Mr Irwin

“One positive point is the fact that prices are responding at the right time in the year, as the summer season offers some relief for farmers getting cows out on grass with the result that input costs are lower.

“However this will only be useful if farmers are permitted by banks to repay at a rate that is affordable. This is necessary to avoid further crippling our industry at a time when improvements are providing a much needed glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.”

Key results from the auction were as follows:

AMF index down 0.5%, average price US$5,930/MT

Butter index up 2.9%, average price US$4,892/MT

BMP index not available, average price US$1,720/MT

Ched index up 6.0%, average price US$3,462/MT

LAC index up 1.2%, average price US$935/MT

RenCas index down 3.8%, average price US$6,020/MT

SMP index up 7.1%, average price US$2,044/MT

WMP index up 3.5%, average price US$2,998/MT