But­ter surge lifted all boats but are there some choppy wa­ters ahead?

Irish Independent - Farming - - FARM OUR - HENRY WALSH

AS the farm­ing year rolls to it’s an­nual con­clu­sion I find my­self look­ing back and also look­ing ahead to shape our plan for 2018 and fu­ture years.

We re­ceived an ex­cel­lent over­all milk price for the year which was very wel­come.

The price rise has been driven by a very strong and un­ex­pected in­crease in but­ter prices glob­ally.

The in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised Ker­ry­gold brand de­liv­ered in spades for Ir­ish milk pro­duc­ers this year and con­firms the value of strong brand names that de­liver re­turns back to us not the re­tailer.

But­ter prices peaked at ex­tremely high lev­els but have now set­tled back at around €4,500 a tonne. This is a solid level and would cre­ate a sound base for the dairy farmer/in­dus­try going for­ward.

The price re­flects the re­newed ap­pre­ci­a­tion con­sumers have for but­ter af­ter the pro­longed pop­u­lar­ity of syn­thetic mar­garines.

Ger­many, of course, is the most re­ward­ing mar­ket for Ker­ry­gold pre­mium priced but­ter sales, but the UK takes a quar­ter of our but­ter ex­ports along with two thirds of our cheese ex­ports.

The UK is our big­gest, best and near­est mar­ket and it is ab­so­lutely crit­i­cal we re­tain the cur­rent level of tar­iff and bor­der-free ac­cess.

With the growth that is com­ing in milk out­put there will be a ma­jor chal­lenge to find new pre­mium mar­kets and we can def­i­nitely do with­out los­ing any ground in the very im­por­tant ex­ist­ing one right on our doorstep.

One in­ter­est­ing change that has shown up in our milk pay­ment state­ments is the way fat and pro­tein are paid for.

Over the last few years we have be­come ac­cus­tomed to be­ing paid at least twice as much per kg for pro­tein as against fat.

In my Oc­to­ber Aurivo state­ment there was near par­ity at €5.90/kg of pro­tein and €5.30/kg of fat.

The value of pow­der will have a mas­sive bear­ing on fu­ture milk price and we need prices to rise to en­sure that EU In­ter­ven­tion is not the best buyer.

This year Aurivo came out with a very strong fixed milk price of­fer of 33.5c/l. When com­bined with their “Flexi Milk Loan” scheme, this gives a very sta­ble foun­da­tion on in­come se­cu­rity.

Aurivo are to be com­pli-

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