Talking milk prices
The majority of Irish co-ops are supporting their hard-pressed suppliers by holding their June milk price.
Connacht Gold have joined in this move, a decision welcomed by IFA dairy committee chairman Kevin Kiersey.
Dairygold is the latest co-op to confirm that their milk price will remain unchanged at 29.42c/l, including VAT, for June.
Lakeland, who paid 30c/l, including VAT for May milk, have cut their June price by 1c/l.
However, their board will have to be congratulated for recognising that Lakeland producers are currently experiencing very unfavourable weather conditions and they have allocated an additional hardship payment of 1c/l for all June milk.
Meanwhile, the weighted index for all commodities was down by 0.9% at Fonterra's latest GDT internet auction as weaker whole milk powder (WMP) prices reduced the overall average price.
WMP volume exports from Oceania are expected to be 7.3% higher this year than last year, and GDT announced that there would be 502,000 tonnes, an increase of 10,000 tonnes of WMP, sold on their platform over the next 12 months.
Skim milk powder (SMP) prices were up by 5.2% to $2,727/tonne, but WMP prices fell by 5.8% to $2,584/tonne.
SMP was quoted €30 higher at €2,170 on the Dutch Dairy Board this week.
Whey powder also increased by €20 to €880/tonne, while butter and WMP remained at €2,700 and €2,480/tonne, respectively.
The EU WMP, butter and SMP prices would yield an equivalent milk price to Irish farmers of between 27c and 28c/l when 5c/l is deducted for processing.
The auction price of butter and skim would deliver a price of just under 26c/l but the Fonterra WMP auction price would return just less than 23c/l.
Irish dairy farmers joined forces with Italy, Germany and France to protest in London and Brussels over current milk prices and created a mini lake to represent this oversupply.
Their umbrella body, the European Milk Board, think that a voluntary curb of 25% on EU milk production to reduce overproduction will help their situation.
Poland, with the support of Estonia, Belgium, Hungary, Portugal and Slovenia are pressing the EU to agree to exceptional measures, including the re-introduction of export refunds, to avoid a return to the 2009 dairy crisis.
Dacian Ciolos, EU agriculture commissioner, said there was no justification for such a move, particularly given the drop in the euro versus the dollar.
He also said that the fall in milk price was due to a strong increase in milk production in the world's main producing areas, with a 3% rise for the EU, 10% for New Zealand, 5.5% in Australia and 3% in the US in the past year.
World milk production is likely to be curtailed for the remainder of this year by wet weather in Europe, the worst drought since 1956 in parts of the US, which is driving feed prices to unsustainable levels, and the possibility of El Nino causing lower grass growth in the southern hemisphere.