The price of milk is expected from farmers

What would be the fair price of milk? Web-agri readers overwhelmingly answered this question and for two-thirds, this price would be between €500 and €600/1,000 litres. Is this a fair price? Within reason? Inaccessible? What would be the levers to improve producer remuneration? Find answers from breeders and representatives of FNPL and Apli.

In early November, dairy farmers were interviewed on Web-agri: “What would be the fairest price of milk according to you?” » Many of you have responded (just over 3000 so far) and the results are clear:

– 65% of respondents are between 500 and 600 €/1000 l

– 20% are over €600/1000 l

– 12% voted for €450-500/1000 l

For FNPL, “fair remuneration” and “conforming price”

Asked about this question, the general secretary of the FNPL, Daniel Perrin, explains that “what interests me and interests the breeders, is not the fair price, it is the fair remuneration. For example, 420 euros in Sodiaal two years ago, considering the rates we had, seemed extraordinary, while today it is ridiculous”.

The fair price, for FNPL, is the price constructed from interprofessional indicators, taking into account the companies’ product mix. “For example, for Sodiaal currently, it’s €490 per 1,000 liters at 38/32”, which seems like a fair price today.

“This matching price tool gives an idea of ​​what needs to be done. Then, the basic law of trade is to buy cheap to sell more expensive, but we are convinced that the sector must know how to share the wealth. We called a few months ago reduce the gap growing between us and our neighbors, without lining up. With the recently renegotiated prices, we are getting closer, but all companies should be at a permanent price level”, which is still far from being the case, he regrets.

The difference with prices in neighboring countries is in fact regularly noted by breeders, such as “Mor”, who comments on Web-agri: “We are far from 500 €/1000 l when our Belgian and German neighbors are approaching 600. Even Poles and Romanians are paid more than us!! This is what is called “getting for…”.

For the general secretary of the FNPL, if it is necessary to reduce these differences, “today, claiming the same price as the Germans or the Belgians, is demagoguery, because the day the markets fall, we will no longer want to. approximates the price of the Germans. In the time of Covid, no one claimed the German prices, as we were 30-40 euros more!”.

“550 euros/1000 l, the minimum! » according to the application

“Before we determine the price of milk, we need to determine the income our work deserves,” comments Guillaume in our survey. Doesn’t an entrepreneur who works 50 to 60 hours a week and takes one to two weeks off a year deserve 3,000 to 4,000 euros a month? “.

This is also Apli’s approach: “to calculate the producer’s income, we base ourselves on the equivalent of minimum wage for two hours and not in two months Smic, explains its president Adrien Lefèvre. We are more around 4500-5000 euros: for business leaders who manage farms with an average of 65 cows in France, I don’t think it’s a joke! »

As for the calculation of production costs, “the figures recently published by Cniel take into account load factors, but we are far from taking them all into account, he believes. Ok, there is food, GNR, fertilizer, but no increase in labor cost when equipment needs to be repaired, no 20% increase in scrap! »

According to Updated figures published by Cniel on 11 November, the cost price was €417/1,000 l in 2021 for traditional lowland farms. This is the sum of the expenses mobilized by the dairy, minus subsidies and sales of products other than milk (young calves, slaughtered cows). (©Cniel)

The app claimed in February minimum €500/1000 l. With the “risk factors that have been added alongside war in ukraine, plus a margin, adding a climate risk premium and a decent reward for breeders, today we should be between €550 and €600/1,000 l. I don’t think you should be afraid to say it! “.

“For those who say asking for a minimum of €550/1,000l is exaggeration, learn about interest rates, they keep going up!” support “steph72″ on Web-agri. Good luck to anyone looking to invest in or upgrade their equipment.”

“Cha” for his part encourages “not to give up” and testifies: “communities are struggling to be supplied with milk and the price has exploded (…). If one part continues to reduce their volume we will be able to grab profitable contracts because the industrialists campaign to have volumes. (…) I asked 600 euros to my new producer and we will leave Sodiaal with a neighbor.”

Autonomy, quality, other ways to improve income

Are there other levers that can be mobilized to improve farmers’ incomes? “You have to know how to shout, but also to question the system,” judge Lorenzo on Web-agri: “If you want to have an income worthy of the name, a family is essential: stop chemical fertilizers, reduce the income and. effluent recovery breeding”.

For Daniel Perrin, we can always do dead ends, like put less base fertilizer, pull the cow feed too, “but if we pull too much, the rope will break.” In the current context, “it will be necessary to reflect on autonomy in electricity”, he advances, but “there will always be incompressible expenses”.

Adrien Lefèvre raises the question of milk quality, “a small lever but we have to work”: “We are around 3000 euros per ton. fat, but it is already traded at 9,000 or even 10,000 euros in the markets, as we see with the price of butter. Maybe we should review Criel’s regional networks for this, there might be a way to have an estimate. But there is a danger: we can lose on the protein side.”

He mentions short-term levers, but which will not solve the problem of long-term reward: “There is an agroecological approach, we find it in the autonomy of farms… But we have already thought about it a little! “. The temptation for him limit investments is an opportunity, “especially for producers who have an average age of 55… But by spending less, we will support less structures around us. And in the long run, it’s shooting yourself in the foot, knowing that France hasn’t capitalized tremendously over the past ten years.

“Only the price of milk will not be able to allow the breeders to live, for “Jlo”, who underlines in Web-agri that “the work performed by a farmer is not only to produce milk: he preserves space, nature, biodiversity, he should be recognized and rewarded for this too”.

Thinking about the future of the sector

“25 million liters of interruption in Bel, 18 million in Biolait. In my department, a Gaec with 2 million liters that stops the milk. It stops everywhere”, notes “steph72”. The same observation for Adrien Lefèvre: “Young people are settling near my house and the first thing they do is stop the milk.”

“Arbitrages are made now, and then there is no going back: there are breeders who stop producing milk, not who start again! If we want to install young people, we need strong messages and the price is one”, he insists.

For FNPL, it is necessary to pay attention to a discourse which, seen from the outside, can discourage young people from settling in the dairy sector. “Today, when we go over 500 euros, it is not the Himalayas, but it has started to give producers a good payment. So it might not be enough for everyone, but saying things always go wrong, we won’t want to invest in generational renewal anymore! We must be reasonable. We have a sectoral plan, which is perhaps not ambitious enough, but which aims 60% of farmers at the average level of income. Today we are at 30%. “, explains Daniel Perrin.

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