The average dairy farmer supplying 500,000l of milk per year has been underpaid by approximately €3,300 in their milk cheques for the peak milk supply period this summer, the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) has claimed.

The association stated that it carried out an analysis of the average payment made to farmers by co-ops over the period of May to July this year.

The findings of these calculations have indicated that base prices paid for milk differed between co-ops, as well as between months. The ICMSA has indicated its belief that the pricing structures of dairy co-operatives are “deliberately opaque” to discourage farmers from disputing milk prices.

“What is quite extraordinary is that the minimal Ornua price for June – that is without any added value component – was still higher than the average price paid to milk suppliers by Irish co-ops,” the head of ICMSA’s dairy committee Ger Quain has said.

€3,000 underpayment

The calculations carried out by the ICMSA took weighted averages for the base milk prices paid by all dairy co-operatives.

“But the full picture is revealed when we calculated that, over the three month peak period by our calculation, we estimate that a 500,000 litre supplier modelled has been underpaid by €3,300, if we compare average monthly prices to the very conservative calculation we make on the Ornua figures,” Quain went on.

“For a 300,000-litre supplier, that becomes a €2000 underpayment over the May-July period inclusive,” he added.

The dairy committee chair concluded his remarks in stating his expectation that payments for what the ICMSA sees as a shortfall in milk price to be made immediately.