Dairy co-ops and processors are being told that a price of 53c/L “should be considered the minimum” for milk supplied in May.

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has said that this price would be “fully justified” this month.

Noel Murphy, the association’s dairy chairperson, said today (Thursday, June 2) that an offering of 53c/L should be the minimum price paid to farmers when co-op boards meet next week to set May milk price.

According to Murphy, the “recent blips” in the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) index – which has seen five decreases on the trot – were “entirely predictable given the prospect of peak milk production in the northern hemisphere”.

“More significant, the most recent Dutch dairy quotes show that the market has not only steadied but is actually moving upwards again,” he said.

“All the indicators are positive and dairy farmers must get the benefits of the improved market returns to offset the long list of escalating input costs,” Murphy argued.

Referring to recent comments by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue – in which the minister explained the exclusion of dairy farmers from the silage support scheme – Murphy said he was “a little taken aback”.

“[The minister] cited the record milk prices, without ever referencing the rocketing input costs that have effectively wiped out any benefits that would have accrued due to those milk prices.

“To reference one without the other is effectively to give only half the story. The kind of input inflation we are seeing now is eating through even the high prices we are receiving, and it means that milk suppliers absolutely have to get every half a cent that their co-ops can pass back,” the ICMSA dairy chair insisted.

Murphy concluded: “This has never been about price. This is always about margin, and we can see immediately that the market is returning well in excess of 53c/L to milk processors, so we are demanding that this becomes the base price for May milk.