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Hope For NI Dairy Producers As Milk Prices Increase

23 October 2009

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - Milk prices are starting to creep upwards as milk production and deliveries fall, says Ulster Farmers' Union.

Thursday’s milk auction results show a much welcomed jump from 23.9 pence per litre to 28.29 pence per litre, which is a rise of 4.39pence per litre or 18.3 per cent. In the same period last year, the auction result from September to October recorded a significant drop in price from 24.58 pence per litre to 18.23 pence per litre which equated to 25 per cent.

This result aligns with the Ulster Farmers' Union’s (UFU) earlier predictions which followed consecutive, positive results from the Fonterra auction in New Zealand over the last three months. This is a direct reflection on improvements in many global markets along with local circumstances such as the impact of the €/£ exchange rate which have boosted the Northern Ireland market.

UFU Dairy Committee Chairman William Cromie said: “This is the highest September to October price increase since the auction began. If you consider that back in December 2008, we had an auction price of 16.63 pence per litre, today’s result is a 11.66 pence per litre improvement that should allow dairy farmers to at last start seeing some profitable return for their efforts. Most importantly, it will help them to start paying off many outstanding bills. It should also better prepare our members for the more expensive winter months.”

However, the UFU stresses that producers should err on the side of caution as the increase will be partly influenced by the drop in Northern Ireland milk production and milk deliveries falling year-on year by 7 per cent. This drop in milk produced is a harsh reality of the torrid 12 months faced by our milk producers, with many farmers calling it a day from the industry as they were unable to make ends meet.

Mr Cromie emphasises; “The UFU will not become complacent. We will continue to advance our Roadmap to Recovery and are due to meet representatives from the independent retailers to discuss their pricing of liquid milk which is in many cases still being treated like a loss-leader. People should be aware that despite this positive set of results, many dairy farmers are still finding it difficult to keep their heads above water and the UFU will continue in its effort to ensure NI dairy farmers receive a sustainable price for their product.”

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