‘Milk prices to remain challenging’

Irish Dairy Board (IDB) Chairman Aaron Forde has admitted that milk prices will be challenging over the next few months, but is equally confident that a degree of buoyancy will return to international markets.

The question that he could not answer was: when will this uplift start to take effect? Speaking at today’s Dairy Ireland Conference he made it quite clear that the combined effect of China stepping back form world dairy markets and the current Russian EU food import ban had combined to put severe downward pressure on international milk prices.

“From a production point of view, we have also seen a sustained period of growth with supply currently outstripping demand,” he said.

Significantly, the IDB representative confirmed that Russia’s plans to secure alternative dairy product supply sources are not working.

“We have representatives on the ground in the country and they are continually sending us back photos of empty, or near empty, dairy cabinets in Russian supermarkets. So it will be interesting to see how all of this plays out in the run up to Christmas.

“Looking to the future there is little doubt that those countries with a high cost base of production will start to feel the pinch, against a backdrop of fast falling international dairy commodity prices. And, of course, Ireland has a tremendous advantage on these markets, given our low cost of production.

“In the long term all the indicators point to global consumption levels outstripping production levels. And this is a good news story for Irish milk producers.”

Aaaron Forde told the conference that IDB continues to grow from strength to strength.

“Our turnover has now reached €2billion. And we want to build on this for the future. We are committed to growing our presence in markets around the world. And this will be achieved on the back of new product development and having a strong on-the-ground presence in all relevant export markets.”