The current milk intervention price of 20.6c/L could be the reality of milk prices facing Irish dairy farmers in the New Year, according to ICMSA President John Comer.

He said the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must secure a significant increaes in the EU dairy intervention price, in order to prevent large numbers of Irish dairy farmers going to the wall.

“No one can predict how markets will react over the coming months. This is part of the problem. But the reality is that the current intervention price is synonymous with the stark reality that thousands of Irish dairy farmers will go out of business. Teagasc figures indicate that milk prices of 29c/L is what’s required for milk producers to break even.

“So that’s the level at which intervention milk prices must be pitched. There is also an immediate requirement for the introduction of an effective export refunds scheme, in order to ensure that dairy products are removed from the EU market.”

John Comer also pointed out that farmers have been the fall guys in paying for the humanitarian crisis unfolding across the Baltic states in the wake of Russia introducing a ban on EU food imports.

“Farmers should not be allowed to carry the can for political decisions taken in Brussels,” he said.

“This is inherently unfair and is a state of affairs that must be rectified as quickly as possible.”

Commenting on the pending abolition of milk quotas John Comer said that the prospect of Europe’s dairy farmers producing milk in a world where there are absolutely no constraints must be reviewed.

“The challenge of volatility is already with us and we are still operating within a quota controlled regime. So how much greater will this challenge become once quotas disappear?

“Given these circumstances I am now strongly of the view that a strategic volumetric supply system for milk must be considered by the EU.”