The Ornua Purchase Price Index (PPI) fell in March to 84.2 points, the twelfth consecutive drop of the index.

The PPI is a monthly indicator of market returns on dairy products (butter, cheese and whole milk powder) sold by Ornua.

The March return is down 20% on the same month in 2015 and back 57% on March 2014.

In February this year the PPI dropped to 84.5 points while in January it stood at 85.7.

Earlier this week, Ornua announced that it is suspending its 0.14c/L dairy farmer levy in recognition of the on-farm challenges currently experienced by Irish dairy farming families, due to the global dairy market downturn.

The levy will be suspended from May 1, 2016 and it is estimated that this year the suspension will return nearly €6m to Irish dairy farmers.

Ornua said that the Board will reconsider the suspension of the milk levy when the Ornua PPI returns to 103 points (30.5c/L incl. VAT) for three consecutive months.

Under the milk levy, Irish dairy farmers directly contribute to the Kerrygold brand and the marketing development of Irish dairy products in over 110 countries.

Despite the levy’s contribution to Ornua and the marketing of Irish dairy products, it is hoped that suspending the levy will go some way towards supporting farming families at this difficult time.PPI