Milk prices in Northern Ireland during the month of April were over 40% higher than they were in the same month last year.

In April of this year, the average farm-gate price of milk in Northern Ireland – including retrospective bonuses – was 26.05p/L (30c/L), according to the latest figures from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

This was 7.89p/L (9c/L) higher than 12 months previous, or an increase of 43.4%.

The average farm-gate milk price over the first four months of 2017 in the North equated to 26.12p/L (30c/L), a 7.79p/L (9c/L) increase on the same period in 2016.

Milk production on Northern Irish dairy farms also enjoyed a surge in April of this year. A total of 212.28 million litres was produced in the fourth month of 2017; this represented a jump in production of 4.1%, when compared with statistics from April last year.

Over the course of the first four months of the year milk production on dairy farms in the North increased by 1.3%; some 787.39 million litres of milk was produced between January and April of this year.

Production on Northern Irish dairy farmers has been increasing gradually since last February; close to 33 million litres of milk more was produced in April than February of this year.

Milk price increase for May supplies ‘imminent’

Meanwhile, strong global dairy commodity prices should see an imminent rise in the base milk price, the Ulster Farmers’ Union’s (UFU’s) Dairy Chairman, William Irvine, said.

Irvine made the comments as the UFU’s Milk Price Index (MPI) approaches 30p/L (35c/L).

“Throughout May, prices for butter and cream rose rapidly. This has been highlighted with Dutch butter prices at a record high.

Rising milk powder prices are being recorded globally also. This has triggered rises in all of the main market indicators, including AMPE, MCVE and the UFU MPI.

“It is undeniable that prices are strong and markets are buoyant. We are long overdue a rise in the base price of milk here in Northern Ireland,” Irvine said.