March milk prices must increase to at least 33c/L, according to the IFA’s National Dairy Committee Chairman Sean O’Leary.

Co-ops are set to meet this week to decide on milk prices for March supplies.

While there are concerns over skimmed milk powder (SMP) intervention stocks; the EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, has made it clear he is determined not to sell, except ‘at the right price’, O’Leary said.

There were clear indications that 2017 would see only very modest volume increases and that dairy prices would remain mostly stable at relatively strong levels, he added.

O’Leary believes this must strengthen co-ops’ resolve to up prices further and deliver at least 33c/L before peak.

This would allow Irish milk producers to re-build their balance sheets as well as to clear out merchant credit and other short-term debt, he said.

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