Ireland leads the way on milk processor investment

Glanbia's €185m processing facility at Belview
Glanbia's €185m processing facility at Belview
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Irish dairy industry continues to be the EU leader in terms of investment in milk processing facilities.

When taking into consideration the volume of milk produced in the country, Ireland leads the way, having invested €1.2c per litre per year over the three years 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The UK sits second in this table, well ahead of other main milk producing nations in the EU.

According to analysis undertaken by Promar for AHDB in the UK, since the end of quotas, major investment in processing in Ireland is now close to €400m.

Ireland, the Netherlands and Denmark invested heavily in processing assets on the run up to the end of milk quotas (March 2015).

These countries have since recorded significant increases in milk production, justifying the heavy investment.

Between 2014 and 2017, Irish milk production increased 29pc, the Netherlands rose 15pc and Denmark 7pc.

Among the major investments in recent years, Glanbia invested €235m at the company’s milk processing plants at Virginia (Co Cavan), Ballyragget and Belview (Co Kilkenny). 

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Further between now and 2020 it plans to invest between €250 and €300 million to facilitate an expected 30pc growth in milk from Glanbia Ireland’s 4,800 farmer suppliers.

Dairygold has also invested €162.1m in the business over the last five years primarily across its four processing sites (Clonmel Road and Castlefarm in Mitchelstown, Mogeely and Mallow).

Meanwhile, Arrabawn have also increased their overall processing with a €6m investment. The growth in supplies to the mid-west dairy will see milk volumes hit 500m litres by 2020.

Kerry Group and Lakeland Dairies said they had no plans for further spending in new processing facilities in 2018-19, however, both dairies pointed out that significant investment had been made in stainless steel over the last number of years.

It was a similar story at Carbery. A spokesperson said the West Cork processor has sufficient capacity for the next few years. However, she said the company was assessing medium and longer-term manufacturing requirements.

Online Editors