Dairy co-ops are being called on to come out and commit to holding milk prices over the spring period.

Sean O’Leary, IFA Dairy Committee Chairman says the move would give farmers some welcome reassurance heading into what looks set to be one of the toughest springs for milk prices in years.

“We will be meeting the co-ops this week and the message we will be giving them is to come out and give a clear indication to farmers of what milk prices will be like over the coming months.

“We feel that prices should be held even if that means co-ops need to support the price as they did last year,” he said.

O’Leary also said that news of Ornua paying a cash bonus to co-ops later in the spring should also bolster prices.

Ornua announced today that, following the recent successful disposal of DPI Specialty Foods (“DPI”), it will pay an additional cash bonus of €15m to its member suppliers, Ireland’s dairy processors.

Ornua sold a majority stake in DPI, a US speciality foods distribution business, to Arbor Investments in December 2015 and the €15m will be funded from Ornua’s gain on that disposal.

This additional cash bonus will be paid in April/May 2016 and will be in addition to the normal annual cash bonus paid by Ornua.

In addition to returning additional funds to its member suppliers, the sale of DPI will allow Ornua to continue to develop its core business of building routes to market for Irish dairy products on behalf of Irish dairy farmers.

The last 18 months has seen Ornua invest in acquisitions and significant capital expenditure in Africa, Germany, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the UK and the US.