The four west Cork co-ops led for March and are still leading for April when we compare the price paid/kilo of milk solids. Overall, there was another substantial cut to April’s milk price across the board, with between 2c/l and 4c/l coming off farmgate milk price.

The January milk league averaged 51c/l – or €7.13/kg milk solids. That’s now down to an average of 38c/l or €5.34/kg milk solids for April.

In effect, when we account for a value on labour, it means the cost of production exceeds the value of milk right now.

The April moves mean there are three distinct divisions – those paying 39c/l in old money (€5.50/kg MS), those paying 37c/l to 38c/l (€5.30/kg MS) and those paying less than 37c/l.

There are two big players in the bottom division, Kerry and Lakeland, as we head over peak milk supply.

Even with top-ups, Kerry remains off the pace and while it only dropped 2c/l in April, it still remains bottom of the April milk league. It has its first significant three-in-a-row of the season now – February, March and April at the bottom of the league.

The unconditional bonuses and support payments are gone more or less for April.

‘Stability fund’

The west Corks say they are calling on a ‘stability fund’ to the tune of 3c/l to keep milk price where it is. Aurivo has a flat 2c/l bonus. Lakeland has a 1.4c/l support payment continuing.

The cumulative column is already showing big differences between processors, despite the fact we are only four months into 2023.