‘Farmers are experiencing a tough time’ – Irwin
Newry and Armagh DUP MLA William Irwin MLA has said the recent protests by dairy farmers over farm gate milk prices and rising production costs are ‘fully understandable’.
Irwin said rising production costs added to by the sustained wet weather have led to a situation where farmers are struggling to keep up. He shared the sense of urgency being displayed by farmers across England who are protesting at many of the large processing plants over the ever expanding gap between farm gate and super market shelf.
Irwin stated: “The dairy farmer is certainly experiencing a tough time and have been for the past number of months. With the prolonged wet weather farmers are using winter feed and that is expensive especially when at this time of year cows should be out to grass which would be a huge saving on production costs.
“With silage proving difficult to get harvested with so much rain and then the rising feed costs due to world markets and the drought in the USA, this is not a great outlook going forward. Farmers are being squeezed at the production side with higher costs for feeding and indeed higher energy prices for fuel and power but added to this, the price for milk has been on a downward trend.”
He continued, “We are expecting the latest auction results which may or may not signal an increase however we are a long way from where we were when prices were stable a few seasons ago. The dairy industry needs stability and that has been sadly lacking in recent months and with the pressure coming at each end of the production cycle, it is not an easy time for farmers.
“The big processors need to fully realise the sort of pressure the dairy farmers are under and respond accordingly with more realistic prices, without this response the industry will suffer.”
“The UDF auction result on Thursday with an increase of just over 2p per litre is certainly welcome given the realities of producing milk in these tough conditions and whilst we are still a long way from an ideal production position it is at least a step in the right direction,” Irwin added.
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