Kerry is the latest in a growing number of processors to announce that it is holding its milk price for March supplies.

Suppliers of Kerry will continue to be paid 31c/L, including VAT, for March milk. This is based on milk supplied at 3.3% protein and 3.6% fat.

This is the second consecutive month that Kerry has decided to hold its milk price, with the most recent milk price increase of 2c/L coming in January.

Earlier today, Lakeland Dairies announced its decision to hold its milk price for March supplies, with a price of 31.28c/L including VAT.

The most recent milk price increase from Lakeland Dairies came in January, when an increase of 1c/L was announced.

Yesterday, Glanbia announced its milk price for March supplies. Glanbia Ingredients Ireland (GII) has held its base price for March at 31c/L including VAT for manufacturing milk at 3.6% fat and 3.3% protein.

This is the second consecutive month the processor has decided to hold its milk price at 31c/L, with the last milk price increase of 1c/L coming in January.

Henry Corbally, Glanbia Chairman, said: “Milk supplies from the USA remain strong, while European milk volumes are recovering faster than expected. There continues to be a number of geopolitical uncertainties that could impact on the global dairy market.”

Corbally said the Glanbia board would continue to review markets month-by-month.

The decision to hold the price comes in spite of calls from the IFA to increase milk prices for March to at least 33c/L.

While there are concerns over skimmed milk powder (SMP) intervention stocks; the EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, has made it clear he is determined not to sell, except ‘at the right price’, O’Leary said.

There were clear indications that 2017 would see only very modest volume increases and that dairy prices would remain mostly stable at relatively strong levels, he added.

O’Leary believes this must strengthen co-ops’ resolve to up prices further and deliver at least 33c/L before peak.

This would allow Irish milk producers to re-build their balance sheets as well as to clear out merchant credit and other short-term debt, he said.

Other processors are set to meet in the coming days, but some have yet to announce their milk prices for March supplies.