Dairy farmers in Northern Ireland have seen farm gate milk prices in November rise by 4.95p/L (5.8c/L) compared to the same month in 2015.

This means that farmers were paid a total of 26.47p/L (31c/L) last November, compared to 21.52p/L (25.21c/L) in the corresponding month in 2015.

Recent statistics from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) show that milk prices in the North have been steadily increasing since June of 2016.

Prices include all retrospective bonuses paid to farmers to date. Transport charges have also been deducted, but there has been no deduction of any super-levy liabilities, according to DAERA.

With the farm gate milk price increasing in November, the volume produced in the North fell by 4.4% to 157.25m litres.

This percentage drop last November represented a fall in production of 7.24m litres compared to the same month in 2015, statistics show.

However, despite the fall in production in November it remained on par with the previous month, when production levels reached 157.29m litres.

The month of October saw the first increase in production since June 2016, statistics show.

Northern Ireland Raw Milk Production (million litres) Source: DAERA

Northern Ireland Raw Milk Production (million litres) Source: DAERA

Between January and November 2016, production levels reached 2,034.29m litres, meaning the month of December will have to be the highest producing month of the year to equal 2015 production figures.

IFA’s hopes for December Milk Price

Meanwhile, with co-ops in the Republic of Ireland soon setting December milk prices, IFA Dairy Committee Chairman Sean O’Leary said that prices should break through the 30c/L barrier in the Republic of Ireland in December.

We have continued to see a significant fall back in output across the EU, so there is every prospect of the co-ops adding another 1c/L on to the price they pay for December milk.

“And that should get us through the 30c barrier,” he said.

O’Leary believes that the prospect for dairy prices remains positive right up to the end of June this year.

“I don’t think European farmers will be able to turn the milk production tap back on that quickly, such was the scale of culling that took place at the back end of last year.

“Many farmers will also prioritise on paying back debt, before they consider increasing output. All of this bodes well for Irish milk prices over the coming months,” he said.