Collapse in milk prices ‘a national economic reversal’

Farmers’ group hit out at Government as CSO figures point to 23% decline in prices in 2015

The collapse in milk prices has been described as a “national economic reversal” by the Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA).

The group was responding to preliminary estimates from the Central Statistics Office, pointing to a near 23 per cent crash in prices this year.

The first year of the post-quota era has coincided with the worst dairy market slump in a decade linked to a fall-off in Chinese demand and the Russian import ban.

ICMSA deputy president Pat McCormack said the collapse in value would be felt everywhere but would be "especially severe" in the dairy-intensive areas of Munster and south Leinster.


The crisis has prompted calls from stakeholders here, including the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, for an increase in the EU intervention price for milk. So far, agricultural commissioner Phil Hogan has resisted intervening, insisting there would be no return to protectionism.

Next week’s Global Dairy Trade auctions are unlikely to provide any relief for dairy farmers with futures markets pointing to another fall.

According to the Irish Farmers’ Association, the milk price paid to suppliers here has fallen by 33 per cent to 28 cent per litre in the past 18 months, which, it claims, represents a 93 per cent decline in farmers’ margins.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times