Liquid milk producers will need an extra 10c/l over the six winter months, otherwise it is not going to be feasible for farmers to continue in the sector, IFA liquid milk chair Keith O’Boyle has told the Irish Farmers Journal.

The current 7c/l bonus being paid to farmers who produce milk over the winter months is a historic figure, which was “pulled out of the sky”, he maintained.

Currently, there is in the region of 1,280 liquid milk suppliers in Ireland and, of that number, around 270 farmers supply 50% of the milk.

O’Boyle went on to explain how a review of production costs undertaken by James Dunne from Teagasc has indicated a 24% increase in the cost of production of liquid milk in 2023 versus in 2021.

He added that the review did not take recent interest rates hikes into account.

“In general, the mood among liquid milk farmers is not great. The farmer calving cows in autumn is the most impacted farmer of them all. Costs are killing them, banding is killing them, and the nitrates are killing them.

“If we don’t get paid to calve cows and supply milk in the winter to at least cover costs, there’s no point in it and it’s not sustainable.

“If there are cows that are going to have to leave anyone’s herd it’s going to be autumn calvers,” O’Boyle explained.

“Unless farmers receive this additional premium of 10c/l over six months, we will witness a mass exodus of farmers from the sector.

“Our farmers cannot be expected to continue producing fresh milk at a loss,” he concluded.