Tipperary farming: ICMSA's angry response to Glanbia's May milk price

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Tipperary farming: ICMSA's angry response to Glanbia's May milk price

Gerald Quain

The ICMSA has reacted angrily to the announcement this Tuesday by Glanbia that it would pay suppliers 30cpl for May milk supplies.

The Glanbia price is based on manufacturing milk supplies at 3.6 per cent butterfat and 3.3 per cent protein.

Glanbia Ireland (GI) will also maintain its base milk price for May at 29cpl, including VAT, for manufacturing milk at 3.6 per cent fat and 3.3 per cent protein.

In addition, Glanbia Co-op will make a support payment to members of 1cpl, including VAT, for May manufacturing milk at 3.6 per cent fat and 3.3 per cent protein.

However, following the announcement of May milk prices by Glanbia Ireland and Lakeland Dairies, Gerald Quain, chairperson of ICMSA’s Dairy Committee, said that extreme anger was being expressed by suppliers to Glanbia after the largest processor in the country announced a price that will leave it still lagging Lakelands by almost 3cpl on base price, a situation that Mr Quain said was "astonishing".

He was also critical of the Lakeland’s decision to cease paying the 1.5cpl bonus it had paid on April supplies.

“It beggars belief that we are expected to accept that there can be such a disparity between two co-ops processing the same raw product for base price," he said.

Mr Quain said that questions were being asked by ICMSA members who supply Glanbia Ireland about this kind of astonishing price gap.

There was a large difference between the top and bottom processors last month for April supplies, but we now see a widening gap between even the middle paying processors and Glanbia Ireland, he said.

"If you consider that up to one quarter of the annual milk supply on a dairy farm is produced in April and May and assuming that we’re talking about something like 100,000 litres for these two months then we’re looking at a difference of €2,780 between a farmer supplying Lakelands and one supplying Glanbia," said Mr Quain.

The dairy chair said that ICMSA thought it was a "genuinely shocking figure".

This difference is becomes even more magnified when the comparison was made with the top-paying co-ops , said Mr Quain.

He said that dairy farmers were "scratching their heads" wondering how such differences can occur and they felt – very justifiably - that they were owed an explanation because this loss of income represented by this price gap would repay some of the bills still owing after this spring.

"Farmer suppliers are under pressure after what has to be acknowledged as a difficult and very challenging year on inputs costs and the whole situation is made even more remarkable when you consider that dairy markets are moving upwards strongly. In fact, this very day Kerry Co-op have offered 33cpl fixed milk price contract showing what they estimate to be the current and future strength of the market," said Mr Quain.