Processors failing dairy farmers, says UFU

Farmers in Northern Ireland are facing financial pressure due to poor milk prices
Farmers in Northern Ireland are facing financial pressure due to poor milk prices

Dairy processors have been accused of making the last year 'frustrating' farmers in the Northern Ireland, according to the Ulster Farmers' Union.

Northern Ireland has the second lowest milk price in the EU and the past 12 months has 'confirmed' that the supply chain 'is not working', it said.

Dairy chairman Mervyn Gordon said there is 'no market justification' for the financial pressure farmers face from poor milk prices.

“Dairy processors have refused to engage on prices, citing the threat of a no-deal Brexit as their priority.



“Dairy farmers, however, feel short-changed. Last month two processors cut the base milk price by 0.25ppl. This was unjustified.

“Pressed to explain it, one said they needed to make 'savings'.



“The savings achieved were £150,000 on sales of £15 million – a gain of one per cent, but only achieved at an enormous cost in terms of supplier goodwill,” said Mr Gordon.

The UFU dairy chairman also warned that farmers were 'sufficiently wise and cynical' to see that price cuts had been 'timed to kick in' when winter bonus payments were due to begin.

He said farmers are 'already suspicious' about how these are calculated, and now can see these are being 'subsidised from price cuts'.

“The time has come for dairy processors to explain what is going on to their producers.

“Farmers are taking all the risk while suffering the fallout from unfair trading arrangements,” said Mr Gordon, adding that all producers needed to make this clear to their individual milk buyers when they meet them at the Winter Fair.