Four West Cork co-ops took the top places in a recent analysis of milk prices, compiled by the ICMSA.
Cork dairy farmers lose almost half a billion euro as milk prices plummet

Four West Cork co-ops took the top places in a recent analysis of milk prices, compiled by the ICMSA.

Drinagh, Lisavaird, Bandon and Barryroe took the top four places respectively in the ranking of the 2023 average base milk price.

Next on the table was Northern Ireland processor Strathroy, followed by Arrawbawn and North Cork

Lakeland, Tipperary, Aurivo and Tirlan make the bottom four places.

CMSA Dairy Chairperson Noel Murphy described the range between top and bottom as “worrying” and emphasized that such a margin cannot be allowed for the remainder of 2024.

While the range from top to bottom standing at over 3c/L, the ICMSA Dairy Chairperson said the differential amounted to €13,000 for a 400,000L production herd.

The report, which looks at the average base milk price with available bonuses added on top is vital, ICMSA sys, as it provides its farmer members with the transparency that can be so hard to see on a monthly basis.

“This table has to seen in context and the context for 2023 was a very difficult and challenging year for milk suppliers that saw year-long low prices and high inputs. That has left many farmers caught in the worst kind of cashflow squeeze and that’s why ICMSA has consistently called on the Co-ops to pay the highest possible price they can.

“The levels of stress many farmers are under are unprecedented and they have to be given some kind of financial ‘breathing space’. So as soon as they can, Co-ops are obliged to raise the price they pay their milk suppliers and we’ll go on demanding just that”, said the ICMSA Dairy Committee Chairperson.

He also said “the other notable characteristic of the 2023 prices was what he described as the ‘absolute freefall’ in overall milk price that was experienced compared to 2022.

“While the range was over €8,000 last year, the top price paid plummeted by over 14cl, and this has had a devastating effect on dairy farmers given the high cost environment that continued into 2023.”

According to the report prices are based on base solids of 3.3pc protein and 3.6pc butterfat. The prices and revenue are based on a 400,000L supplier following the weighted percentage of milk supplied to coops in 2023.

SCC was assumed at 150,000, TBC at 10,000, Lactose at 4.6 and Thermoduric at 200. All bonus and penalty payments are based on manufacturing milk.

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