The Irish Farmers Association has urged co-ops to invest in the sustainability of their supplying dairy farms as harsh spring weather and cattle conditions put a strain on dairy farmers.
The long winter, late spring and hectic calving season left many farmers exhausted and stressed, while market returns continue to be challenging in this early part of the season, according to the IFA.
The IFA urged co-ops to invest in their farmers’ economic sustainability when setting their March milk prices, adding that supplier investment was at least as important as investing in stainless steel.
'The Same Mistakes'
“When setting the March milk price, co-ops cannot make the same mistake as they did last month,” said Tom Phelan, IFA national dairy committee chairman.
“IFA dairy committee members will encourage fellow dairy farmers within their county to join them in meeting or otherwise contacting every board member and some of the members of the outer boards or other co-op committees over the coming days to lobby them and drive home this point: co-ops must slow down and minimise any further milk price adjustment,” Phelan said.
IFA members from all regions reported having to complement feed at a high cost to themselves because of depleted stores as a result of bringing cows in early last autumn and keeping them in until late this spring, according to the association.
“Despite this additional feeding, protein levels have plunged in March according to most co-ops,” Phelan said. “Without any price cut at all, farmers will be looking at a depressed milk cheque for March.”
“Co-ops have been lecturing farmers about sustainability: now they must ensure that sustainability is also about the economic viability of dairy farmers, including for the long term,” he added. “This must mean supporting farmers through difficult conditions such as were experienced in the last 7 months, and in the short term minimising any adjustment to March milk prices.”
© 2018 - Checkout Magazine by Kevin Duggan