The newly elected IFA President, Joe Healy has called on co-ops to avoid making any further milk price cuts.

Speaking at the Joint IFA and FCStone conference on dairy volatility in Co. Laois today, the IFA Head said that dairy farmers are under extreme pressure from producing milk below the cost of production.

“There can be no further price cuts, it is very clear from talking to farmers that farmers can’t take any more.

We have taken the whole brunt of the down turn and it is now time that pain is shared. We can’t go on producing and selling below the cost of production.

“Co-ops have to give stronger signals of what markets exist at a viable price and then farmers can make informed decisions on volumes over and above that,” he said.

The IFA President also said that the biggest challenge facing all farmers and especially dairy farmers this year is lower farm incomes.

“As farmers, we are not well equipped to deal with the current prolonged period of volatile incomes and low prices, that are now the norm.

“Dairy farmers are learning the hard way in 2016. The dairy market downturn is lasting longer than anyone would have expected,” he said.

Three challenges facing dairy farmers: 
  • Low milk price
  • High cost of spring feed
  • Super levy bill

The Galway-dairy farmer also said that nobody knows when the markets will recover, but there is bound to be a mixture of bad times as well as good times in the years ahead.

“The expansion of the Irish dairy sector that we seen over the last five years is not sustainable unless problems are addressed.

“This is not about production management, as this doesn’t work on the global market. It is about rethinking the sector’s development strategy to share the risk more fairly.

“After five years of major investment, co-op management teams and boards must take stock and find cost savings and efficiencies in every area of operation,” he said.