Farm Ireland

Monday 18 December 2017

Co-ops report dramatic slide in milk supplies

Overall trend shows 10pc average drop

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Milk supplies were down 10-20pc in the first two weeks of the quota year, co-ops have said.

The dramatic fall in deliveries so far this year, compared to the same period 12 months ago, ranged from 8-20pc in individual creameries.

However, the overall trend is showing an average drop in milk supplies of more than 10pc in early April. Dairygold milk supplies were back 8-9pc on 2008 figures, while Glanbia supplies were down by 8-10pc.

A spokesman for Kerry confirmed that milk supplies were down significantly in the first week of April but would not release a specific figure.

Supplies to Arrabawn were down 12pc in the first 10 days of the new quota year.

A Lakelands spokesman confirmed that last month's supplies had been down significantly and the figures for early this month are expected to show that trend continuing.

Milk supplies to Town of Monaghan fell by 10pc in the first fortnight of the quota year, compared to the same period last year.


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Tipperary Co-op reported a 20pc reduction in milk supplies for the first 14 days but cautioned that this figure was distorted by changes in supplier numbers compared to the same time last year.

But the dramatic drop in milk production could turn around quickly, with all co-ops predicting a recovery in supplies this week. Improved grass growth has had a significant effect on milk production as the warmer weather reaps rewards on farms.

Dairy expert Mike Brady, from Cork-based agricultural consultancy Brady Group, said the drop in milk production was a result of several factors.

"There were big fertility problems last year so there are farmers with cows still to calve, and there are a good few heifers coming on stream this year, he said.

"Wet and cold weather up to recently means that some farmers are still feeding silage or only getting limited grass into cows," he added. "There has been no build-up of grass yet."

The dairy adviser dismissed suggestions that financial pressure meant some farmers were not feeding enough concentrates to cows.

"Farmers are feeding more ration to cows but, where money is tight, they could be feeding calves milk and saving on milk replacer," he said.

Irish Independent