DAIRY co-operative First Milk will start the new year with a price drop as it lowered its milk price for January 2019 blaming a downturn in international markets.

The price for suppliers drops by 0.75ppl to 27.75ppl for the liquid standard litre (4 per cent butterfat, 3.3 per cent protein).

This equates to 28.69ppl on a manufacturing standard litre (4.2 per cent butterfat and 3.4 per cent protein) price.

Vice-chairman and farmer director Jim Baird said: “International dairy commodity markets have been falling in recent months, which has impacted on our returns and resulted in this milk price reduction.

"There were some positive signs in a recent GDT auction, but as we look forward into 2019 the medium-term direction of the market remains unclear.

“We have been able to deliver eight months of stable or increasing member milk prices and so recognise that this decrease, particularly at this time of year, will be disappointing to our members.

"Our underlying business performance continues to be on plan, and we will continue to do all that we can to minimise any negative impact from the market.”