The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) will not be extending its free ticket offer to this year’s Livestock Event to Irish farmers, according to the organisation’s Chief Executive Nick Everington.

He said the decision was taken by the association to provide each livestock farmer in the UK with a free ticket in light of the severe financial pressures they are under at the present time.

However, he confirmed the Association would not be extending its gesture to Irish farmers this year.

“It will not be practicable to extend the offer beyond this. Last year, 200 farmers from the Republic of Ireland visited the Livestock Event. All international visitors will be made very welcome in 2015”.

This year’s Livestock Event takes place in Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC) on July 8 and 9.

Everington is very conscious that the prospects for dairy will remain extremely challenging for the next six months.

“The industry in the UK is losing nine farmers per week, which is not healthy,” he said.

“The challenge of TB eradication is putting further pressure on the milk sector. RABDF is fully supportive of the current badger culling programme, provided infected animals are replaced with badgers that are totally free of the disease.”

The RABDF representative went on to confirm that a number of dairy farmers in Great Britain currently had no supply contract for their milk.

“These producers are selling their output on the spot market at around 14 pence per litre, which is not sustainable in the long term,” he said.

In terms of resolving the challenges facing the dairy industry at the present time, RABDF is calling for a mix of market and other support measures to be considered. These include the introduction of a futures’ market for dairy products.

“Retail prices must also be strengthened,”  Everington said.

“And to this end we want to see the powers of the Grocery Trade Adjudicator enhanced considerably. A trickle-down effect from the retail end of the market should quickly lead to an improvement in farm gate returns.”