Milk supplies up despite conditions
Milk supplies are powering ahead 12 months after the cessation of quotas, despite loss-making milk prices and poor grass growth.
Volumes have increased by 20-30pc in March in the big processors such as Glanbia and Dairygold. During the first 12 months without quota, milk intake increased by 22pc at Glanbia.
Kerry and the west Cork co-ops have notched up an 11-12pc increase in supplies in the last 12 months, but it is further north that the real increase in milk production is materialising.
Arrabawn has seen weekly increases of up to 40pc this year compared to the same period last year, with the co-op's CEO Conor Ryan estimating that supplies are up 35pc so far in 2016. The surge follows a 20pc increase in 2015 supplies at the Tipperary headquartered processor.
Further north and west, both Aurivo and Lakeland Dairies report a 20-25pc increase in milk supplies since the start of the year, compared to a 13pc jump last year in the case of Lakelands.
Arrabawn management are happy that the co-op is well positioned to cope with any increase in supply. "We processed about 360m litres last year, but we have 95pc of the investment in place to bring our capacity up to 500m," said Mr Ryan. The co-op added approximately 40 suppliers through new entrants and transfers from other co-ops last year, to bring its total to 1,000 dairy farms.
Mr Ryan also believes that the market has bottomed out.