Farm Ireland

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Milk supplies surge by 10pc as post quota era kicks in

Milk supplies are up 10pc
Milk supplies are up 10pc
Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Milk supplies are up 10pc in key dairy expansion regions, but static in the southwest where restricted early grass growth has put the brakes on supplies.

Glanbia was among the processors experiencing the biggest jump, with increasing grass growth, stock and supplier numbers all contributing to "strong flows close to 10pc up on the same period last year," according to a spokesman for the company.

However, supplies last week were on par with the same week last year for Kerry, following a 3m litre, or 9pc, surge in collections in the week previous.

Many processors dealt with a three- to four-fold increase in supplies in the three days following the end of quotas two weeks ago.

Collections in Lakelands rose from 1.2m litres to 4m on Wednesday, April 1, while collections in Aurivo jumped from 1m to 3.8m litres on the same day.

However, all processors contacted claimed that collections went very smoothly, with no single supplier's milk rejected because it had soured after being stored for too long.

"There were no rejections, and everything was back to normal by Friday," said Arrabawn's CEO, Conor Ryan.

"We were amazed really with how well it went. We're probably about 4-5pc up this week compared to last year."

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National SCC averages have fallen to 161,000, compared to 364,000 in the same week in 2010, and 208,000 in 2013.

Less than 6pc of herds are now producing milk with an SCC of over 400,000 - less than half the 13pc of herds that were in that bracket as recently as April 2013.

Arrabawn and Glanbia both elected to remain tight-lipped on what the final tally of suppliers that either had secured or lost from their neighbouring processors.


An Aurivo spokesman said that the co-op's supplier base remained unchanged.

Meanwhile, the Ornua dairy index increased from 97.5 to 100 last week, despite a significant 11pc slump in the Global Dairy Trade auction two weeks ago.

Britain's Dairyco also shows that prices for butter have increased by 6pc and SMP by 3pc in March.

The ICMSA's Pat McCormack noted that Kiwi milk supplies are forecast to fall 2pc on last year, and the potential of a fourth year of drought in the key US milk state of California should drive milk prices.

"It's on this basis that dairy farmers fully expect co-ops to at least hold milk price for the peak period," he claimed.

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