Traders must heed warning signs: UFU

With one of the most difficult years in terms of weather continuing to take its toll on local farmers, the Ulster Farmers' Union have called upon dairy traders to take heed of the warning signs coming out from industry sources as the industry heads into the winter months.

UFU annual meeting at Greenmount. Picture: Cliff Donaldson
UFU annual meeting at Greenmount. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

UFU deputy president Ivor Ferguson, pictured above, says: “With many dairy farmers readying themselves for a fodder shortage on the back of cows being housed early, depleted silage stocks and later cut silage with negligible nutrient content, we could be facing a situation where milk could be scarcer than expected later in the year. To date, whilst milk production levels are on the rise after months of consecutive decline, they have not increased by the levels expected in the price cycle.

“Consequently, we were puzzled to read in the dairy industry press that some traders are talking down the price of mild cheddar. There is no denying the fact that some dairy commodity products have been facing downward price pressure, however, as far as mild cheddar is concerned, the price is holding up due to limited stocks and lack of available product,” the UFU deputy president explained.

With other commodity prices falling, the base price paid to local dairy farmers needs to be an accurate reflection of the product mix in Northern Ireland and cheddar cheese is a sizeable proponent of that basket.

“The reality is that the price of mild cheddar is sustainable at the current higher levels. With ready product not available until the New Year we are calling for traders to stop talking down the price of mild cheddar as this is an unrealistic reflection of the market,” Mr Ferguson said.