Pat McCormack Deputy President of ICMSA is looking forward to a positive year for dairy farmers in 2014. Speaking to AgriLand, he noted that key elements of the New Year will be price trends, Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme and the effect of super levy.

According to McCormack milk price will continue to remain strong for at least the first half of 2014. He cited that market indicators clearly highlighted the ongoing momentum in dairy product prices.

He specified that increases in both the recent Global Dairy Trade Auction and the Dutch Dairy Quotations and noted that the 3.9% increase in the Global Dairy Trade auction reflected strong demand for products such as casein, butter and SMP, while the Dutch dairy quotations are reflecting a stronger market for dairy products in the EU.

McCormack said ICMSA is particularly encouraged by the fact that Dutch quotations have shown improvements since October when they had dipped slightly and now are at the point that the butter/SMP combination is now almost 2 cents per litre higher than the Mid October level. Prices have fully recovered and more since then, according to ICMSA, and they look strong into the first half of 2014.

On the new Bord Bia Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme McCormack highlighted that it was a very positive step for the industry. He said: “Sustainable production is the future he noted and Irish farmers should have nothing to fear from the scheme.”

He stressed that dairy farmers are going to have to embrace it and that the scheme is very reasonable.

In regards to the current super levy situation McCormack said that “our calculations at the moment show that Ireland will be over quota by 2 per cent. This will mean a fine of €31m-€32m which is a significant figure.”

According to McCormack: “A similar or likely a worse situation is unavoidable in 2014.”

He said: “High prices in the main milk producing months will mean farmers will plough on and continue to produce milk in high volumes.”

“We will be constantly calling on the minister in 2014 to review the situation. We believe there is scope there to elevate the problem. Without doubt the super levy situation will be worse next year.”

McCormack noted that up until the 20th of December the second half of 2013 provide ideal conditions for farmers. “The weather is the one thing that farmers irrespective of the enterprise depend on,” he cited

“Nature needs to be reasonably kind to farmers in 2014 after the terrible spring of 2013. Lets hope the weather continues on the treadmill of the second half of 2013.”