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Positive Signs at NI Milk Auction

27 March 2009

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - Ulster Farmers’ Union President Graham Furey has welcomed the slight improvement in average prices at today’s Northern Ireland milk auction. The average price was 18.83 pence per litre, an increase of just over a penny on last months prices.

Graham Furey said; “It is some relief to see average milk prices edge upwards at the auction, but it remains the case that farmgate prices will continue to be well below the cost of production. We will need a considerable increase in milk prices before dairy farmers return to any form of profitability”.

The UFU says it will continue to press for milk processors to maximise returns from the marketplace. Graham Furey said; “With producers prices so low, every penny counts and we will continue to urge processors to generate the maximum possible return. We accept that the global dairy market is very difficult but retail product prices remain stable.

About 20% of the milk processed in Northern Ireland is going into the liquid market and one quarter of the milk processed here goes into cheese; we are not just a milk powder dependent region. With very favourable currency conditions also in place we believe there are opportunities and dairy farmers continue to question why better prices are not being generated. Northern Ireland milk prices at the end of 2008 were the lowest in Europe; that is not good enough. We were pleased to note recent comments from processor representatives, indicating that at last they are responding to our concerns and working together to expand our access into better markets”.

Graham Furey also expressed his disappointment that the EU Commission had not done more to support the export of milk powders. Graham Furey said; “The EU Commission can do more to support the industry and we will continue to lobby for this. Northern Ireland dairy farmers have had to invest heavily to meet the EU’s Nitrates Directive, they are committed to the future of milk production in this part of Europe. It is very disappointing that the EU Commission has not responded more decisively at this time when producers are going through a very difficult period”.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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