AGAINST a background where the problems on farms seem to be growing by the day due, principally, to the atrocious weather conditions, the chairperson of ICMSA’s Dairy Committee has said that the imminent round of March milk price announcements by processors will have to prioritise farm and farmer welfare.
Milking for the first three months of 2018 in what Ger Quain described as ‘near catastrophic’ conditions all over the country has taken its toll and, adding to that worry, there is no end in sight. ‘Fodder is non-existent in many areas with many farmers sourcing supplies from anywhere possible to keep animals healthy,’ he said.
‘ICMSA is receiving reports from members throughout the country in relation to their cattle having to be housed for months on end, reduced milk production, very poor grazing conditions – if any grass growth at all – increased concentrate feed bills and the sharp reduction in milk price, which is being compounded by low constituents experienced over the last month.
‘This is a daunting list of problems and it will have to be faced by everyone standing together and showing solidarity – the co-ops’ role in sourcing fodder is hugely important and is appreciated,’ said Mr. Quain.
‘But the area where our co-ops can – and must – show more support is milk price and the low constituents current are compounding the problem in that area. We want – and expect – co-ops to factor-in the undeniable range and extent of the pressures on farmers and to set a March milk price that is informed by that situation.
‘That means, and we are saying this clearly, that the way to show farmers the support that everyone agrees is required right now is to hold March milk price at current levels. We have to go past declarations of support and into real tangible commitments – that means holding March milk price,’ concluded Mr Quain.