Milk up 10p a pint as costs batter farmers - Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots lobbies at cabinet level for action

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) says that milk in Northern Ireland has risen by 10p a pint due to “record prices” farmers are now having to pay for fuel, feed and fertiliser.

By Philip Bradfield
Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 9:57 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 10:07 pm

Chris Osborne, senior policy officer with the UFU, told the News Letter: “Milk prices are going up dramatically on the back of demand and supply issues.

“There is actually less milk around and also rising demand.”

NI exports 85% of its milk, he added.

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Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots lobbied at cabinet level this week about the pressures on farming. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Northern Ireland dairy farmers are getting better prices for their milk now, he said, but this is against the backdrop of them facing “incredible rises” in the input costs needed to make the product.

He said fertiliser, fuel and animal feed have reached “record prices”.

“So while dairy farmers are getting better prices for their milk this does not negate the rising input costs.”

A local brand of 500g butter has gone up from £3.40 to £4.25 while milk has gone up by 10p per pint, he said.

There is a risk of the milk supply shrinking further as farmers are having to use less fertiliser on grazing land in order to save costs, he added.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots pledged to continue to press senior Cabinet ministers for action on rising food prices, energy costs and labour shortages.

During a meeting in London yesterday with representatives from the food industry, supermarkets, hospitality sector and food processors, he said NI’s agri-food sector was experiencing “enormous pressures”.

“I am incredibly concerned about the developments within Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion and the major influence this is having on global agri-food markets,” he said.

Reductions in labour supply, rising input costs, supply chain disruption and concerns about inflation are all combining to create a perfect storm, he said.

He added that key areas of concern related to the cost and availability of grains and fertilisers, and thatthe UK needs to be as prepared as it can be for prolonged disruptions to supply chains as a result of the ongoing conflict.