UFU begins discussions with dairy processors and buyers


The Ulster Farmers’ Union has held the first in a series of discussions with local milk processors and buyers in a bid to help ease the financial pressures on local dairy farmers.

Dairy commodity prices have risen, thanks to the weakening of sterling, and the UFU has urged processors not to delay passing this on to farmers, who have faced months of cash flow pressures in their businesses.

Speaking after the first meeting with Lakeland Dairies, which included members of the UFU’s dairy policy committee, UFU deputy president Ivor Ferguson said the past two months had brought a ‘favourable combination of factors’ that point to a sustained recovery in milk prices.

He added: “These recovery hopes have been boosted by the latest New Zealand Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction delivering an increase of 6.6 per cent, putting the price at its highest level for nine months. Our involvement in exports means the weakening of sterling has added to the momentum of rising milk prices. On top of this, initial figures suggest local production, year on year, could be back by almost five per cent.”

The UFU says it is hopeful markets dynamics have turned. The GDT auction saw whole milk powder prices rise by almost ten per cent, overtaking what futures markets had suggested would happen.

“Recovery looks firm and this is reflected in the UFU milk price indicator, which has risen by three pence a per litre in the last six weeks,” said Mr Ferguson.

“Farmers have faced a long and severe downturn and we want processors to make passing on these gains a priority to boost hopes that this financial pressure will finally ease. We will be pressing this case further as we meet with other processors in the near future.”