Co-ops urged to heed current steady indicators when setting milk price

Co-op boards – that will be meeting in the coming days to set the January milk price – have been urged to take recent steady price indicators into account by Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) National Dairy chairman, Tom Phelan.

Despite more challenging times for dairy markets, the boards should take comfort from three consecutive positive Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auctions, and from the stability shown by the Ornua Purchase Price Index (PPI) for January, Phelan said.

The dairy chairman said this would allow co-op boards to hold the January milk price and give Irish dairy farmers a strong supportive message as the calving season begins in earnest.

“While dairy returns have come back in recent months, the seasonality of Irish milk production means co-ops can comfortably hold milk prices, and they must do so for as long as possible into spring to support their suppliers,” Phelan said.

“The first three GDT auctions of 2018 have resulted in an 18% butter price increase, a 17% lift in WMP (Whole Milk Powder) prices, and 15% for SMP (Skimmed Milk Powder).

Also Read: GDT receives spring boost in latest auction

“Ornua has maintained its PPI at 111.3 points for January – stable from December.

While dairy prices remain lower than at the height of 2017, the signals are less negative than even a few weeks ago.

“This must give co-ops the confidence to keep holding milk prices for January, and later into spring,” Phelan concluded.