Gerald Quain of the ICMSA
Dairy farmers are facing a drop in their income as a result of the fall in milk production due to the severe weather conditions earlier this year, according to the ICMSA's milk chair.
Gerald Quain said that the difference in production between April this year and April 2017 will, he estimated, work out at about €15m less dairy farmer income. That was without factoring-in any reduction resulting from downgraded constituents, he noted.
Mr Quain was commenting on the April milk output figures from the CSO which confirmed that, as suspected, the severe winter and spring has resulted in a very substantial drop in milk production that will feed into the overall picture for 2018.
Mr Quain said the loss of dairy farmer income will be compounded by the extra costs incurred in getting through the spring in terms of fodder and feed.
“It leaves us in a position where we can say, even at this half-way stage, that 2018 is going to be a year of challenges, stress and pressure,” said Mr Quain.
But, he pointed out, the reduction in global milk supplies will feed back almost immediately into a stronger market as buyers look at the supply statistics and projections and purchase forward in the expectation of reduced supplies coming onto the market from all the significant producing regions.
He noted that this was already evident in dairy products prices with particularly butter moving upwards.
As far ICMSA was concerned, there could be no possibility whatsoever of co-ops reducing their May milk price when they come to announce them over the next fortnight.
“In fact, milk price increases would now move centre-stage,” said Mr Quain.