A young County Waterford dairy farmer has spoken about the €25,000 income dip he’s set to experience this year due to rising costs and Glanbia’s recent milk price cuts.
Cappagh native Aidan Ahearne echoed sentiments expressed by the ICMSA, which described Glanbia’s respective 1.5 cent per litre price cuts in both May and June as contemptuous.
“The cuts haven’t helped considering everything else we’re dealing with at the moment,” said Aidan, whose dairy farm produces 50,000 gallons of milk annually.
“Much of it is down to the price of oil going up so much,” he told The Munster Express. “Most of the chemical fertilisers we use are made from oil and in the past year alone, a ton of it has gone from costing between €260 and €280 to €385, which is some jump.”
He continued: “That 30 per cent hike alone is difficult enough to deal with, but when you throw in the rising costs of the ESB, operating the tractor – filling it and maintaining it, and then you have the Glanbia cuts after that, dairy farmers have a lot going against them.”
No big fan of subsidies, Aidan Ahearne is a prime example of the problems facing the dairy sector according to the ICMSA, who have described Glanbia’s price cuts as “savage”.
Added Ahearne: “What’s happening now is that farmers are using less fertiliser because of its price, which will hit milk yields to a certain degree…
“I’d be a young farmer, and I’m hoping to build a good living out of it. And when quotas will be got rid of, I’d be hoping to run a good family business and there’s definitely one to be made working in the dairy sector.
“But if things keep going the way they do and if costs keep going up, it would just make more sense for me to go off and do something else. When you’re working so hard and getting nothing out of it, you’d soon be wondering what’s the point, why bother with it?
“If there’s not a good margin out of dairy farming, and there should be since the market is there for our product, then you won’t get anyone staying in it.”
And what of Glanbia’s role in recent months? “I think they were probably thinking a bit too far ahead and have actually taken things back a bit more than they needed to,” he added.
“They (Glanbia) made a lot of money at the back end of last year and they should have been looking at cuts they could have made elsewhere in their business rather than hitting the milk price again.”
Both the ICMSA and IFA have sounded militant noises following Glanbia’s latest price cut.
“The facts are self-evident,” said Waterford ICMSA Chair Tom Ahearne.