Farmers block road in protest in England
Farmers staged a roadblock protest with tractors in Staffordshire in the west midlands of England in response to falling milk prices.

Reports indicate that 40 farmers have been driving tractors slowly along the A50 on Friday, causing tailbacks of up to four miles between Stoke and Uttoxeter.

Police intercepted the demonstration and made the tractors travel in a single lane on the dual carriageway to a Dairy Crest milk processing site in Foston, Derbyshire.

Today’s demonstration occurs on the same day the UK’s largest milk co-op, Arla, announce a cut of 0.80p/l on milk price, taking to 23.01p/l from 3 August.

Over the past few weeks several meetings have been held in Britain over the falling price of milk and the potential action farmers should take. Farmers For Action (FFA) chairman David Handley has said that protests were inevitable if retailers did not begin to give a better value to milk.

However in a statement FFA condemned today’s protest stating: “The last people we should be dragging into our argument with retailers, food service industry, milk processors and the government is the general public.”

“Those that are calling for protest, legal peaceful protest that will hold these people mentioned to account, along with serious negotiations, are planned for the coming weeks.”

The last such meeting was on Wednesday evening in Somerset, several organisations addressed farmers including FFA, Tenant Farmers' Association (TFA) and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

NFU dairy board chairman Rob Harrison was accused of not doing enough for the industry at Wednesday’s meeting however he responded stating that farmers must remain united.

In a statement Harrison said: ““There is no magic lever to pull that will make it all better. However, that doesn’t mean we should stop trying as organisations and as individuals. This is why the NFU is working with the FFA, TFA and others to help signpost help for the short term and find agreed solutions for the long term.”

Harrison has previously said the NFU would remain active in targeted discussions with retailers and government over the current issues in the dairy sector but that they would not be against calling members to protest “if there was a reason to go there.”

Beef and dairy bosses demand Brexit action from Creed
Imposing tariffs on exports would "cripple trade", meat and dairy factory representatives have warned.

Beef and dairy bosses braced for a hard Brexit have handed a list of demands to Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.

With 65 days remaining to salvage a Brexit deal, the nightmare scenario of a no-deal is becoming ever more likely.

A delegation including Aurivo’s Aaron Forde, ABP’s Martin Kane, Larry Murrin of Dawn Farms Foods, Cormac Healy of Meat Industry Ireland and Conor Mulvihill of Dairy Industry Ireland, met with Minister Creed on Tuesday.

Dairy co-ops want dual British-Irish status for Northern Ireland milk, export refunds and other trade supports. They called for a freeze on tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit and direct income aid for farmers.

Meat factory representatives warned that if tariffs are imposed on exports to the UK “it would cripple trade”, with the additional danger of sterling devaluation in a no-deal outcome.

They called for extra resources to ensure speedy border checks and increased ferry capacity and routes for direct shipping to the continent.

While European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan reassured farmers Brussels is poised to swoop to their aid, a Commission spokesman confirmed a hard border is inevitable unless the British reach an agreement with the EU or delay their withdrawal.

Read more

No-deal Brexit to add 21c/l in cheddar processing costs

EU 'stands ready' to support farmers - Hogan
European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has assured farmers that Europe is planning for all possible outcomes from Brexit negotiations.

European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has moved to reassure farmers that the EU stands ready to intervene in markets to protect prices in the event of a hard Brexit.

“We have to prepare for the worst. The European Union stands ready to help Irish and EU farmers in the event of a hard Brexit,” Commissioner Hogan said, addressing a crowd of more than 250 farmers at the Kilkenny IFA annual dinner dance on Saturday night.

“We have the tools ready to intervene, including Aid to Private Storage, intervention and a revision of state aid rules,” he added.

Slow

His words will help give farmers comfort that, while Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has been slow to commit to supports, plans for a safety net at EU level are well advanced.

Hogan reassured farmers that the EU is ready for all scenarios, but warned that the Government must also be ready and ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place to ensure products can continue to move through ports.

Gloomy

While a no-deal Brexit paints a gloomy picture, vice president of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness is reminding farmers that it could be avoided if a deal is reached between the EU and UK. But, she says, plans are being put in place to deal with a no-deal scenario.

“There are deep concerns about the consequences,” McGuinness told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“We will need to be looking at how you are going to support a vulnerable sector, that will call for money.

"All of those things will have to be discussed in the short period of time before the United Kingdom leaves.”

Lamb prices rocketing ahead
The trade for all types of lamb is strong currently boosting farmers' confidence in the sector.

Factory agents are scouring the country in the hunt for slaughter-fit lambs.

Prices have hardened significantly over the past number of weeks.

Farmers are securing €5.25/kg to €5.30/kg, with specialised feeders negotiating in excess of €5.40/kg for lambs.

The mart trade is booming for all types of lambs currently.

Fleshed factory-fit lambs are selling over €120/head, with €125/head common for lambs weighing over 50kg.

The store lamb trade is on fire, with prices of €2.50/kg to €2.80/kg and higher being recognised for hill-bred lambs.