The news that milk suppliers are to have another line included on milk statements showing the monthly price in cents per litre at another fat and protein level is hard to understand.

The fact that Dairy Industry Ireland (DII) announced the change this week is even harder to understand. DII represents primary and secondary milk processors who are essentially employed by farmer-owned co-ops to manage the business. Surely it is under the remit of the co-op boards to decide what way milk pricing is announced and handled? Where are our boards or ICOS on this?

While acknowledging fat and protein levels have increased at farm level, there are more questions than answers with this move. The industry moved away from differential pricing almost 10 years ago. Milk solids in €/kg is the payment currency for 90% of our processors and how moving to another metric on differential payment means more transparency is difficult to understand.

The normal base (3.3% protein, 3.6% fat) allows comparison across years and a €/kg milk solids at more recent solids is the barometer that should be used. We have been doing this for years in the milk league. Hiding behind EU measures or picking and choosing what suits from industry reports is muddying the waters.

It is good to see IFA and ICMSA come out strong on this. We’ll watch progress with interest.