Dairy co-ops have been told that their winter milk supplies could be jeopardy if farmers are not provided with prices that will leave a fair margin as farm input costs continue to rise.

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) has said that farmers will only calve cows in spring if they get hit with a winter of poor milk prices.

Liquid milk producers could also cut production over the coming months if they find the price that they are paid for milk does not leave them an adequate margin after costs.

ICMSA dairy committee chair Noel Murphy said input cost hikes would have to be absorbed by either increasing supermarket food prices or by retailers and processors accepting lower margins.

“Farmers cannot have their incomes wiped out through this input inflation and that means either higher prices at the checkouts or lower margins for the retailers and processors,” said Murphy.

“As [the] ICMSA has repeatedly pointed out, farmers are not carrying everyone else anymore – we did it for long enough.”