The ICMSA has welcomed the recent increase in milk prices reported by processors but reiterated that serious differentials persisted in returns to dairy farmers.

ICMSA dairy chairman Ger Quain pointed out that there is a 3c/l differential in the milk prices available for July, with Lisavaird paying 35c/l and most co-ops on a base of 32c/l.

This equates to a differential in returns of €1,500 for the average 80-cow herd that supplied 50,000 litres of milk in July.

Mr Quain pointed out that Dutch Dairy Quotations have reached higher levels across most categories this week again, with butter fetching over €5,500/t after slipping back last month. 

“The standard butter/SMP [skim milk powder] mix is equivalent to 34.1c/l translated back to the farmgate,” he said.

Meanwhile, Aurivo increased its base milk price to 31.5c/l including VAT for July manufacturing milk (29.94 c/l excluding VAT) and LacPatrick increased 1c/l to 32c/l.

 In other dairy news, there has been a sharp increase in the number of cull cows sold through the mart over the last fortnight. With grass supplies recovering in much of the south-west and west, more buyers were reported in the marts for cows straight out of the parlour.

 Tom McCarthy of Bandon Mart said prices for cull cows from the parlour ranged from €100 under the €1/kg for plainer and older types to €50 over for younger stock. He said feeders were doing the bulk of the buying. Kilmallock Mart’s Denis Kirby said prices ranged from €0.90/kg to €1.60/kg for heavy Friesians.