Commenting on the Glanbia decision to hold its February milk price, ICMSA deputy president, Pat McCormack, said he didn’t think praise or gratitude on the part of milk suppliers was due on the grounds, as far as his organisation is concerned, the price being paid out by Glanbia and other processors is still behind the prices the processors themselves are receiving.

McCormack said there had been some small market movements over the past four week but the essential position is unchanged.

He cited recent analysis by ICMSA that calculated Irish processors are nine out of 16 in the league of European milk prices. Nor was this any type of recent development according to McCormack, who also chairs its dairy committee.

“The rolling average for the 12 months also showed Irish processors paid below the European average, that trend had to be stopped and reversed this year.”

He continued: “At an international level, we note that while Swiss company Emmi continues to pay the highest milk price at 52.12 our attention was on Fonterra in New Zealand who were returning 38.31 euro/100kg, which is almost at the European average.

“Irish farmers will be asking themselves 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 received from the Irish Dairy Board.”

According to the ICMSA, the Irish Co-ops have also received an additional €2m in a bonus from the Irish Dairy Board this year with a total bonus of €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 any processor who is doing no more than paying the minimum that the market clearly warrants,” McCormack concluded.