Glanbia and Kerry are continuing to ‘hijack’ the higher constituents farmers achieve through hard work to inflate the co-ops' milk price, IFA dairy chair Tom Phelan has said.

“Many co-ops have been paying less than the Ornua PPI for some months," he said.

"Now, co-ops are allowing the gap to widen even further when it is clear that the higher May Ornua PPI milk price equivalent of 30.45cl plus VAT would allow most to pay at least 1c/l more,” he said.

Phelan called on co-ops deciding May milk prices in the coming days to pass back fully justified increases of at least 1c/l and by committing to quote standard prices only (3.3% protein, 3.6% fat).

“This is unfair and unacceptable to farmers, especially when co-ops are also using the uncertainty of a potential Brexit impact which has yet to materialise, to justify not returning a fair milk price to farmers,” Phelan added.

Lakeland Dairies has held its milk price for May at 29.7c/l excluding VAT.

Kerry announced on Thursday morning that it would pay 28.9c/l excluding VAT for May milk supplies.

Similarly, Glanbia announced that it was holding its price for May at 28.9c/l excluding VAT earlier in the week.