UFU call on dairy processors to pay true milk price

Tuesday, 10 September, 2019

The Ulster Farmers’ Union is calling on the board members of all Northern Ireland dairy companies to challenge their CEO’s to pay a reflective and true milk price to farmers.

Northern Ireland prices have fallen behind key indicators since late autumn last year and are 2/2.50p behind what markets are returning including any margin deduction. UFU deputy president Victor Chestnutt said, “It’s time for processors to wake up. The NI base milk price is lagging behind key market indicators, but there is also a widening gap with milk producing neighbouring countries. Dairy processor board members should be making this case to their chairs and chief executives. Dairy processors need to stop sitting on their hands and at the bare minimum hold the milk price until the end of the year, it is the least dairy farmers deserve at this stage.”

The UFU’s analysis of AHDB milk price, has shown that for June when compared to other EU member states, at 26.43ppl only Latvia, Lithuania and Romania are receiving a worse milk price than NI.

While the NI milk price has dropped unjustifiably since the beginning of the year, input costs have continued to rise.

“Dairy processors are hanging farmers out to dry. How can they be expected to cope when the price they’re getting for milk barely covers production costs, not to mention the struggle to create an income to live off. This financial pressure, which is being generated unnecessarily by processors, can cause serious issues for farming families. At the end of the day, we’re talking about their livelihoods,” said Mr Chestnutt.

A decline in butter, which only represents one product in a diverse dairy product range, has been used as an excuse for falling milk prices as is Brexit – neither of which are acceptable reasons. 

“Butter is starting to rise after taking a hit and cream is also experiencing an upward trend and yet the NI milk base price remains unjustifiable. Meanwhile, the farming industry continues to be left in the dark regarding Brexit but the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s exit from the EU, can no longer be blamed for the fall in milk price. The uncertainty impacts the whole supply chain not just processing. The only individuals who are preventing farmers receiving a fair price for their milk is the processors,” said the deputy president.