The recent cuts in milk prices offered by processors for August supplies have again been criticised by the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA), which has highlighted the “rallying” of markets.

Ger Quain, the association’s dairy committee chairperson, claimed that the latest spot prices are “further evidence” of what he called “price sleight-of-hand” employed by the processors.

He added that it was “obvious” that markets were rallying in the short term and were “beginning to move upwards” in terms of long-term forecasting.

Despite both of these positive movements, most of the co-ops followed “the usual suspects” in cutting the milk price paid to their farmer-suppliers for last month’s milk and, put simply, this is no longer acceptable and is not justified by market developments.

Quain claimed that anger among milk suppliers had been “evident” at the National Ploughing Championships last week.

He also made the claim that milk processors may have “availed of the confusion and disruption in the beef sector to implement milk price cuts”.

“In the setting of the price for August, it is clear that medium and long-term data was willfully ignored while an obviously temporary market ‘blip’ was seized upon and a completely unjustified price cut was pushed through on the basis of that,” Quain argued.

What this amounts to is milk processors disregarding the weight of evidence and data that’s all pointing to the market moving up, and instead jumping on even the most temporary ‘stall’ in that movement and then citing that as market weakness to cut the price.

Quain claimed that a 300,000L supplier lost €500 for August milk supplies.

“It adds insult to injury when, just days after those price cuts are announced, we can see further market data that shows what we have suspected all along – there’s no market justification for these cuts,” he went on to say.

“Farmers, like all businesses, have bills and debts to meet and the level of milk price is absolutely critical to their viability. Farmer anger is growing at unjustified milk price reductions,” he concluded.