While there has been some small market movements over the past four weeks, Ireland’s milk price position remains unchanged.

This is according to the ICMSA, which cited its most recent analysis that calculated that Irish processors’ performance has actually fallen. The report said the price has fallen from a position where they were between 9th and 10th out of 16 in the league of European milk prices last December to their January 2014 position where they were between 13th and 14th out of 16.

This is not a recent development, according to Pat McCormack, who also chairs its dairy committee.

“The rolling average for the 12 months showed that Irish processors paid below the European average and several questions arise from that fact: particularly interesting from an Irish point-of-view was the fact that Fonterra in New Zealand were returning 38.31 euro/100kg which is almost at the European average.

“Irish farmers have been asking how Fonterra can pay a price similar to the Irish price given their product mix and distance from the marketplace. We’re still awaiting an answer to that question. In the same way as we’re still awaiting an answer about what happened the bonus the processors and co-ops have received from the Irish Dairy Board. The Irish co-ops have received an additional €2m in a bonus from the Irish Dairy Board this year bringing up the total bonus figure to €11m, which is equivalent to about 0.4 cents per litre.

“Milk suppliers want to know when that bonus is going to be passed back and in the meantime they don’t feel the urge to cheer processors who are doing no more than paying the minimum that the market clearly warrants,”added McCormack.