Milk production set to increase by 300m litres in 2019
Co-ops gear up for more expansion as global trade prices rise
The massive surge in milk production over the last decade looks set to continue into 2019, with all the main processors predicting continued supply growth.
Industry sources forecast that milk supply expansion will increase by 300 million litres in 2019 and take overall production to more than 7.8 billion litres.
Milk supplies in 2018 are expected to top 7.5 billion litres on the back of a surge in deliveries during the back end of the year.
This means Ireland will realise its Food Harvest 2020 target two years early by growing overall milk production by more than 50pc since 2010.
Much of the dairy growth over the last decade has been in the east and south of the country, and further growth in this region is forecast.
Glanbia expects its suppliers to deliver 5pc more milk in 2019, or an additional 120 million litres. The country's largest milk processor has seen deliveries grow by 82pc between 2009 and 2018, increasing from 1.3 billion litres to 2.37 billion litres.
During the same period, milk supplies to Dairygold have grown from 855 million litres to 1.34 billion litres or almost 60pc. Production at the co-op is forecast to grow by a further 11pc over the next two years, rising to 1.49 billion litres.
Kerry Group has enjoyed supply growth of 9pc since milk quotas were abolished in 2015. Overall supplies increased 3pc to 1.2 billion litres in 2018, and the processor's milk pool is forecast to grow by a further 2pc in 2019.