19 July 2002

Powder refunds rise

EXPORT refunds for milk powders have risen again this month, but dairy managers in Brussels have also cut the intervention price by 1%.

The decision to lift refunds should help bolster milk prices against the rising k/$ exchange rate, said independent consultant Mike Bessey, but it is unlikely to put extra money into farmers pockets.

"Over the past two months, the k has gained a lot of ground against the $, so returns to EU exporters have fallen by 10%. This is only offsetting that."

At the meeting on July 11, market managers increased export refunds for skimmed milk powder from k715/t (£460/t) to k850/t (£547/t), while those for whole milk powder went up to k1200/t (£772/t).

The Ulster Farmers Union welcomed the decision. "This will assist the industry to market our products internationally and we look forward to farmgate prices increasing to reflect this," said chief executive Clarke Black.

But the move to cut the buying-in price for intervention tenders by 1% has been criticised by the Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers Association, despite large quantities of Irish SMP being accepted into the scheme.

"Farm minister Joe Walsh must continue to seek that full and normal intervention for SMP is restored, and all product offered pre and post the stipulated Aug 31 cut off date is accepted as long as the SMP market is depressed," said Jackie Cahill, chairman of the ICMSA dairy committee. &#42