UFU questions ‘downturn’ forecast for dairy markets

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The Ulster Farmers’ Union has challenged the suggestion that dairy markets could face a downturn over the coming weeks.

The union’s dairy policy chairman, William Irvine, said the UFU follows national and global market trends closely and so was confused by reports that prices are about to slip back.

“While prices for butter have weakened in recent months, powder remains strong. While perhaps not as high as earlier in the year our view is that prices will remain stable,” he said.

The UFU says that while views may differ over markets forecasts it believes there is no case for suggesting a downturn. It also warns against any moves to talk down prices when farmers are going through a costly winter.

“Local dairy farmers have increased overheads this winter. They need stable and fair prices for the milk they produce, and the signals from key markets are positive. Speculation of a slump, not backed up by facts, could tempt processors into trying to drive down prices in the new year,” said Mr Irvine.

Meanwhile, Farmers For Action (FFA) says it is now happy with the Lakeland/LacPatrick deal.

The group’s Steering Committee was concerned for LacPatrick/Town of Monaghan farmer suppliers, stating that they received their October payment a day late and on November 24 were paid short their bonuses.

As a result of this FFA have made enquiries about the certainty of the situation until merger day with Lakeland early in the New Year.

FFA has concluded that a good outcome looks set and are calling on Lakeland to ‘do the decent thing via their new farmer suppliers and not play hard ball, but instead fair ball or call it a good faith gesture and find a way to reinstate the missing October bonus money’.

FFA believes this could even be spread over a short period of months.

FFA co-ordinator William Taylor commented: “Now let’s see what Lakeland are made of.”