A survey conducted by the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) showed that nearly 78% of farmers surveyed were not happy with their milk price. The results also showed 72% are in favour of constituent pricing. The survey was conducted at the UFU stand at the 2019 Winter Fair. They got a response from 212 farmers and the UFU says that it accurately reflects the feeling on the ground.
Only 27% knew how their dairy processor calculated the monthly base price they receive and while the majority of farmers were happy with the milk testing service, just over 38% felt the service provided was either fair or poor.
A number of issues need to be addressed in the dairy sector
Nearly half of the farmers surveyed were optimistic about the future for dairying in Northern Ireland, while 41% were unhappy and 11% were unsure.
“It is clear that a number of issues need to be addressed in the dairy sector, particularly the calculation of the base milk price that processors generate each month,” said UFU deputy president Victor Chesnutt.
“With the DEFRA consultation on milk contracts approaching, this is a timely opportunity to have this discussion.
“Throughout 2019, the UFU challenged local processors on the farmgate milk prices and we’re not surprised to see so many expressing their discontentment about the milk base price they received”.
Chesnutt again called for the debate to be opened on what constituent pricing looks like in Northern Ireland. He said that the dairy committee may have agreed that in collaboration with AFBI, a body of work should be conducted to look at the situation.
We must use the information we have gathered to help improve certain aspects within the diary sector
“One of the most concerning results from the questionnaire is that whilst the majority of farmers were optimistic about the future of dairying, a significant number were unhappy or unsure.
“We must use the information we have gathered to help improve certain aspects within the diary sector, to ensure that every dairy farmer in Northern Ireland is receiving fair returns and can be confident about the future of their farming business,” said Chesnutt.