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IFA: More Reasons Why Co-ops Can and Must Hold March Milk Prices

09 April 2019

IRELAND - Speaking ahead of yesterday's National Dairy Committee meeting, Chairman Tom Phelan said the lobbying effort undertaken in recent days by IFA for March milk prices, which saw Committee members approach their local co-op board members with a 10-point campaign, was to be revised yesterday.

He said that further evidence of strong industry performance and figures showing significantly lower calf and cull cow sale revenues were further arguments proving that co-ops could, and should, hold the March milk price.

Mr Phelan said: "We have outlined our '10 good reasons why co-ops must hold the March 2019 milk price', and there are further factors which strengthen our case with co-op board members. I can’t emphasise enough just how critical cash flow is on dairy farms this time of year, and co-ops must maximise payout to farmers.

"Confirming our contention that much appreciated supports to farmers during 2018 had not prevented a strong industry performance, the Ornua results were published, showing a 14.8 percent increase in operating profit. Ornua will be paying a €19m year-end operating bonus to member co-ops, up 27 percent on the previous year. This should help co-ops hold milk prices this spring.

"Also, as well as significant feed and fodder cost increases and lower milk prices squeezing margins by over 6c/l, dairy farmers are facing reduced revenue from cull cow and calf sales. Cull cow prices have collapsed 21.6 percent in the last 12 months, while calf prices are down 21.5 percent in the first quarter of 2019 compared with the same period last year.

"National Dairy Committee members will this week continue to discuss with the board members of their co-ops the need and justification for them to hold the March milk prices when they meet to make that decision in coming days."

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