Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 February 2018

Flood of milk sees co-ops gain ground

Grass growth boosts supplies

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

QUOTA shortfalls are being filled rapidly as milk supplies to co-ops surge ahead.

Exceptional grass growth has resulted in a huge increase in the flow of milk to co-ops in the past four weeks.

Milk supplies to Kerry Group are running 2m litres per week ahead of 2009, while Glanbia supplies are running 1.18m litres (2.9pc) per week ahead of last year.

Kerry Group remains 32m litres under quota, compared to 35m litres under quota at March 31.

Glanbia is currently 4.5pc under quota, an increase from 5.9pc (57m litres) under quota on January 30.

Milk supplies to Dairygold during the month of May were 10.5pc higher than May 2009. The co-op's quota position has moved from under 11.5pc in April to 5pc under quota at the end of May.

Town of Monaghan has moved from being 8-9pc under quota in April to 5pc under quota now.

Milk supplies are currently running at 7-8pc ahead of the 2009 figure.

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A spokesman for Lakeland said weekly milk supply figures were well up on last year but given the co-op finished the quota year at 13pc under, there was no panic at this stage about filling the quota.

Milk supplies to Connacht Gold are running 7pc ahead of 2009 on a week-by-week basis, while Arrabawn supplies are 8-10pc higher than 2009 week-by-week.

Co-ops have not issued any warnings about exceeding milk quota yet, but industry experts are keeping a watchful eye on the situation.

A spokesman for Glanbia said that farmers were being kept informed of the quota situation regularly, adding that the next few weeks would be crucial.

Teagasc dairy expert John Donworth said farmers needed to be careful about feeding ration heavily.

"At a milk price of 30c/l, feeding is not a waste of money but they need to be keeping an eye on quota," he warned.

"No one is shouting stop yet but farmers may need to pull in their horns later.

"If co-ops stop paying guys in September because they have filled their quota, there could be cash-flow implications on farms," he added.

Irish Independent