Lakeland Dairies has held its milk price for April supplies of milk at 24.78c/L including vat and a lactose bonus, a spokesperson for Lakeland has confirmed to Agriland.

Last month, Lakeland Dairies cut its milk price for March supplies by 1c/L while in February, the co-op held its base milk price for February supplies of milk at 25.78c/L.

It follows Glanbia in holding the milk price for April after Glanbia last week announced that it is to pay its member suppliers 24c/L including VAT for April manufacturing milk supplies.

A spokesperson for the co-op said that this price is inclusive of a 2c/L Glanbia Co Operative Society support payment to its members.

Glanbia Ingredients Ireland (GII) also held the April price at 22c/L including VAT for manufacturing milk at 3.6% fat and 3.3% protein.

The Board of Glanbia Co-operative Society has decided to pay members a support payment of 2.0c/L (including VAT) for April manufacturing and liquid milk supplies.

Last month, GII set a March market price of 22c/L including VAT for manufacturing milk at 3.6% fat and 3.3% protein.

This was a reduction of 2c/L on the February market price and according to Glanbia it reflects the weakness in dairy market returns.

Meanwhile, recent figures from the Milk Market Observatory (MMO) show that Irish dairy farmers were paid the third lowest milk price of all Member States in March.

Last month, Irish farmers were paid a base milk price for raw milk collections of just 22.7c/L (excluding co-op support payments), only higher than both Latvia and Lithuania.

The MMO data also shows that the Irish raw March milk price is down considerably on the same month in 2015, with prices back by 6.45c/L or 22%.

It shows that dairy farmers in Cyprus were paid the highest price at 54.70c/L, while the majority of continental raw milk was purchased between 26-28c/L, with the exception of Poland’s milk price of 24.97c/L.

The MMO data also shows that the EU average farm gate milk price decreased by 4% in March 2016, to 28.1c/kg or 27.29c/L.