WEST Cork's co-ops have maintained their dominance in the Farmers Journal-KMPG milk price review for 2016 with Lisavaird emerging on top with a rate of 30.51 cent per litre (cpl), excluding VAT, levies and collection charges.
They were followed closely by the other three co-ops in the Carbery Group, Barryroe (30.16cpl), Bandon (29.5cpl) and Drinagh (29.41cpl). The average price per litre of milk paid last year was 27.03cpl â the lowest average milk price for the past six years.
The peak price was back in 2013 when its reached a whopping 37.76cpl, so even though prices have increased again since the end of last year, there is still a way to go before the figure of four years ago is emulated.
What the 2016 figures again show is quite a gap in the milk prices paid by the major co-ops, the lowest being the 24.36cpl paid by LacPatrick. The difference between that and the Lisavaird price is 6.15cpl and, as Farmers Journal dairy editor, Dr Jack Kennedy, pointed out, in the case of an average 70-cow herd yielding 5,000 litres of milk per cow, this would add up to a difference of â¬21,000 per annum.
This large differential â â¬300 per cow â prompted a call from the IFA's national dairy committee chairman, Corkman Sean O'Leary, for co-op boards to review their long-term milk pricing plans when considering this survey. He claimed that the gap between the best and worst prices has been âwidening massively' over the last 13 years.
âSome milk purchasers utilise alternative income streams to top up dairy market returns,' he said. âHowever, these cannot possibly account for the totality of the differentials.'