Farm Ireland

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Glanbia loses 20 suppliers to Arrabawn

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

The Glanbia milk lorry left Billy Moroney's yard for the last time in 48 years of collections last Friday.

The 40-cow lifetime Glanbia supplier will be sending all his milk from now on to Arrabawn, along with up to 19 other suppliers that have left the country's largest milk processor this week.

While dairy farmers everywhere else in the country celebrated the end of milk quotas, last week was one that Mr Moroney was dreading.

"This has been a traumatic week, because I've made great friendships with all the Glanbia people on the ground since the first collection of milk here in April 1967, and it's not nice to tell them that I'm done supplying," said the south Wexford farmer.

Mr Moroney cited Glanbia's obligatory milk supply agreement as the key reason that close to 10m litres of milk was moving from the Glanbia pool to Arrabawn.

"The milk supply agreement is a very onerous legally binding contract, with specific conditions that are also binding on the farm's successors. And yet there was no mutuality, since there was absolutely no commitments from Glanbia on milk price," he said.


"I believe that it was a grave mistake for any farmer to sign that contract, and that the farm organisations have done their members a huge disservice by standing idly by while this all happened."

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Mr Moroney added that he had stayed loyal to Glanbia during five decades, despite the fact that neighbouring Wexford Creamery was paying a higher price for much of that period.

The Barrow Valley group of farmers -that Mr Moroney is now part of- had offered to sign up to a one-year rolling contract similar to what Callan and Centenary co-ops were operating under, but this was rejected by Glanbia management.

"There were lots of ways for some kind of an arrangement to be met with Glanbia, whether by agreeing a price over the period of the contract that was linked to the KPMG milk audit or something else," he claimed.

"Arrabawn will be paying a higher price than we are currently getting in Glanbia, they are almost debt free, with plenty of capacity.

"But a huge attraction for us was the fact that they are still a 100pc farmer co-op," he said.

"We also have the opportunity to become shareholders by contributing 0.7c/l."

Glanbia have a milk pool that is six times bigger than Arrabawn's 260m litre supply. The 20 farmers switching are from counties Kilkenny, Carlow and Wexford. However, up to 10 Glanbia suppliers in south Waterford are also engaged in talks with the Nenagh processor.

While close to 10 suppliers are poised to move the opposite direction -from Arrabawn to Glanbia- the latter was uanble to confirm how many suppliers it was losing or gaining when contacted last week.

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