“Producing fresh milk for shop shelves requires farmers to milk their cows all year round at significant extra cost compared to milk which goes for manufacturing. This is now being compounded by the surge in input prices,” he said.
“While the price of milk for manufacturing has been going up, this is eating into the extra premium farmers are normally paid for producing fresh milk all year round. More and more, farmers are questioning why they are taking on the extra costs and effort needed to milk all year round. Liquid milk farmers need a bigger premium,” he said.
Keith O’Boyle acknowledged the approval by the Cabinet of the General Scheme of a bill to establish a new Office for Fairness and Transparency in the Agri Food Supply Chain.
“This office must ensure a fair wholesale price for private label milk. The dominance of private label milk sales in Ireland has eroded the margin paid back to farmers to such an extent that a regular and consistent supply of milk on our shop shelves cannot be guaranteed,” he added.
“In the meantime, retailers must increase the retail price of milk and pass the entire differential back to the primary producer. Price won’t be as a big a concern if retailers cannot secure a sufficient supply of fresh milk this winter,” Keith O’Boyle concluded.