Reservations were expressed about some elements of Glanbia’s 5-year fixed-price scheme by John Comer, President of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA).

However, he welcomed Glanbia’s continued approach to risk management of milk price by offering an alternative to the price volatility of the market.

Comer was speaking following the announcement of Glanbia Ireland launching its 5-year fixed milk and feed price scheme last week.

Farmers must make decisions on the milk price of 31c/L based on their own farm and circumstances but the availability of such options is vitally important, the president said.

Farmers in the Glanbia region have also expressed reservations stating that the linking of feed to the fixed milk price scheme may distort competition among feed mills in the area, Comer added.

The scheme is voluntary in nature. However, according to the ICMSA, some farmers are uneasy about having to purchase all their dairy rations for a 5-year period from the company if they sign up to the scheme.

This is precisely the reason that the ICMSA will meet Glanbia Ireland to discuss the scheme, Comer stressed.

Others, such as purchasing groups, may be penalised if they purchase from other sources and will not be prioritised for future Fixed Milk Price schemes, it was noted.

Given that feed purchased on the farm is from quality assured sources owing to the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS), it seems unnecessary that a ‘closed loop’ for consumption of grains – as stated by Glanbia Ireland – is needed in this scheme, Comer concluded.