Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 March 2018

Lough Egish revival on cards for Lakeland

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Lakeland Dairies is preparing to fully re-open its drying plant in Lough Egish, Co Monaghan, to cope with a surge of milk from 2015, the co-op's chief executive has confirmed.

Michael Hanley told farmers at the Teagasc National Dairy Conference in Co Cavan that the co-op was "ready, willing and able to process every litre of milk supplied by our producers" when the quota regime ended.

Lakeland has already recommissioned its 2t/hr dryer at the Lough Egish site and intends to switch on a second 4t/hr dryer when milk supplies increase. Industry sources suggest the move would cost the co-op in the region of €3m.

The Lough Egish facility was "mothballed" in April 2010 with the loss of 50 jobs when all drying was moved to Bailieboro, Co Cavan where a 7t/hr Niro dryer was installed at a cost of €22m.

Lakeland surveys have found that 67pc of its suppliers intend to increase milk production once quotas are abolished in 2015, while 29pc of suppliers intend to maintain the status quo.


Milk supplies are expected to increase between 35pc and 55pc when quotas end. The move would drive Lakeland's milk pool up from 700m litres in 2012 to a potential milk processing pool of 1bn litres by 2020.

Speaking in the Slieve Russell last week, the dairy's boss Michael Hanley was extremely enthusiastic about this increase.

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"Lakeland has made the necessary investments in ultra modern plants to cope with the extra milk," he proclaimed.

The Lakeland boss was extremely upbeat about the short-term outlook, telling the 300 farmers attending the conference that all its dairy product for 2014 has already been sold.

He said the co-op's five-year plan would also include an increase in the number and range of value added dairy products and a redevelopment of its site at Newtownards where research and development is currently carried out.

The co-op intends to expand in butter and cream products, flavoured milks, frozen and soft ice cream and develop new product packaging.

Lakeland Dairies had a turnover of €473m last year and recorded a profit of €7.9m.

Food ingredients accounted for €255m in turnover, while food service and agri-trading amounted to €161.5m and €56.5m respectively.

Mr Hanley advised farmers against going "to the bank with a budget of 39c/l".

He said: "I think 33-34-35c/l would be more realistic."

Irish Independent