For the second month in a row, milk prices have been slashed as farmgate prices catch up with commodity price falls that happened in the autumn and over winter.

As the new season supply volumes kick in, processors have reduced prices across the board by between 4c/l and 6c/l. There are still some early season supply bonuses included, which help prices overall for the top players.

The net result for February is Tirlán remains on top as it was for January, followed closely by the west Cork co-ops and Aurivo in the west.

The west Cork co-ops have moved up the ranking as they have imposed two 4c/l milk price cuts, for January and February, compared to some of the other co-ops that have imposed two 5c/l to 6c/l cuts each month.

Lakeland Dairies is top of the middle division leading the other big players Arrabawn and Dairygold. At the bottom of the table in January were North Cork, Boherbue and Kerry.

In February, North Cork cut 4c/l net. However, Boherbue and Kerry cut 6c/l, so they fall further away from the rest.

Kerry has dipped under the €6/kg milk solids (42c/l) mark already, and hence the gap has opened to 4c/l to 5c/l off the top division already.

Again, February supply is small, typically just 4% of annual supply on a spring-calving farm.

Base price is now averaging €6.40/kg MS (45.7c/l), down from €7.13/kg MS (50.9c/l excluding VAT) in January. The milk price cuts combined with higher input prices will mean the margin is down significantly for a lot of dairy farmers.

Falling fertiliser prices will help to cushion the impact of price cuts. However, many farmers did buy nitrogen for 2023 in the back end of 2022.

Cumulative column

The year-to-date cumulative payment column (January and February) captures the combined milk payment for a typical spring milk supply pattern for circa 100 cows based on average national milk solids.