Northern Ireland milk auction system criticised

Farmers For Action has criticised Northern Ireland’s United Dairy Farmers for selling ex-farm milk to GB processors through its processing arm, Dale Farm, and other outlets, rather than through its monthly auction.

This reduced competition and had a detrimental effect on the auction system, it said. UDF chief executive David Dobbin said GB processors had bought some spot milk from NI a month or so ago, but this trade had mainly dried up as markets had weakened and cheaper milk (at 20p/litre) was available from France, Belgium and Holland.

“The simple fact is that there is little or no demand from GB at present for NI milk and at the last auction many of the buyers who rejected their option milk didn’t buy it back,” he said.

“Dale Farm is processing cheese flat out and has reopened its powder driers to handle surplus milk.”