Irish farmers have reached a “breaking point” on the lowering price of milk, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has warned.
The association's dairy committee said income for an average supplier has been cut by €50,000 so far this year.
This comes as a milk 'price-war' among leading supermarket chains continues.
IFA National Dairy Committee Chair Stephen Arthur said farmers simply “cannot sustain” futher price cuts.
“Farmers have endured milk price cuts in excess of 10cpl since January which equates to an income reduction of €50,000 for the average supplier,” he said.
“Dairy farmers are near breaking point now,” he said. “Cows are housed throughout the country resulting in big drops in milk supplies while feed and fertiliser prices remain at record levels.”
"Sustain milk prices"
Mr Arthur said many dairy processors have removed the “early calving bonus” many farmers rely on - so they will endure a cut in income before any changes to base price are made.
The IFA have urged processors and supermarkets to consider farmers’ incomes before dropping the price of milk again.
“We know a lot of boards will be deciding milk prices this week,” Mr Arthur said. “Board members must listen to the concern of their suppliers and have to sustain milk prices at current levels.”
Tesco, Aldi, Supervalu and Lidl have all announced that the price of two litres of milk in-store will drop by 10 cents – the first drop in prices since the cost-of-living crisis began.
In a statement yesterday evening, Lidl said price reductions “will pass €2.7 million in savings directly on to our shoppers here in Ireland”.
“We are committed to helping customers throughout this cost-of-living crisis. We are happy to be the first grocer to pass on savings for all of our fresh Irish milk.”
IFA Liquid Milk Committee Chair Kevin O'Boyle said milk is being used as a 'loss leader' in a price war between supermarkets.
"We lose - the money they cut will eventually dwindle down, and the farmer will get cut," he said.