Farmers are facing into the worst spring for milk prices for years as dairy product prices across the globe continue to tumble.

With base milk prices currently hovering around the 25-26c/L, many commentators are predicting that milk prices could fall further this spring.

Coupled with this IFA Dairy Chairman Sean O’Leary has also highlighted even unchanged base price could cut 6c/L off farmers’ milk receipts between November and February because of lower constituents alone

“Prices need to be held, and supports front-loaded,” O’Leary said.

Ask tough questions

Financial planner Carl Richards describes how we all tend to be uncomfortable talking about money.

“Talking about money often ends in arguments about money. So we avoid it, and that leads to all sorts of problems.”

According to Teagasc’s Tom O’Dwyer, most farmers would fall into that category.

“How many of you have sat down and had an honest discussion with your family about money?”, he asked recently.

According to O’Dwyer, 2016 is likely to be financially challenging, so now would be a good time to sit down with your family and get them ‘on board’ to help you to steer the business through the next 12 months.

“Difficult decisions will have to be taken and new habits formed. Family support could be really vital.

“A useful starting point would be the completion of an analysis of your farm’s 2015 performance using the Teagasc eProfit Monitor.

“Also, the simple exercise of listing all of your assets and liabilities, and calculating your net worth, could prove informative.

“Finally, the tricky matter of family drawings will need to be addressed.

“With a ‘lumpy income’, what will you do in 2016 to align your drawings with your expected income?” he said.