Ulster Farmers’ Union dairy chairman, William Irvine, has said farmers should see strong global dairy commodity prices as a sign that an increase in the base milk price is imminent. The comments were made as the UFU milk price index (MPI) approaches 30 pence per litre.
Throughout May, prices for butter and cream rose rapidly. This has continued, with Dutch butter prices now at record levels. Rising milk powder prices being recorded globally. This has triggered significant rises in all the main market indicators, including AMPE, MCVE and the UFU MPI.
“It is undeniable that prices are strong and markets buoyant. We are long overdue a rise in the base price here in Northern Ireland. Processors have justified the stalling of price gains for farmers with claims that recovery in commodity prices is supply-led. But the past six weeks have in fact shown that the recovery is very much demand-led, making it longer term and sustainable,” said Mr Irvine.
Some processors have also countered farmer calls for a base price rise by claiming a gap between fat and protein prices. The UFU says however there has been a significant recovery in powder prices. Dutch whole milk powder (WMP) prices increased from €2680 to €2950 in the last four weeks and skim prices are well clear of Intervention levels.
“Processors now have no excuses for failing to share market gains with producers. I would urge them to think about the long-game. Looking after farmers when markets are strong helps ensure dairy farm businesses remain viable and ensures their future milk supply. Should a milk price boost not come with May payments processors will have a lot to answer for, and farmers will demand an explanation for unfair treatment,” said the UFU dairy chairman.