Dairy processors are warning farmers about the risk of penalties due to high somatic cell counts (SCC) associated with once-a-day milking.
All Dairygold suppliers have been advised by the society to avoid a once-a-day routine unless their SCC levels are currently under 150,000.
Penalties apply in most processors for SCCs in excess of 200,000, increasing progressively for higher counts.
"We are monitoring the situation very closely with more producers seriously over quota now planning to change over to once-a-day milking, but we have seen no effect of higher SCC in milk supplies as of yet," said a Dairygold spokesperson.
Teagasc regional manager, John Donworth, said that cows at 300,000 SCC could double or treble overnight by switching to a once-a-day regime.
Glanbia are also warning suppliers to tread carefully, but admitted that changing to once-a-day milking had little impact on SCCs if the herd had low SCCs, especially if suppliers were using milk recording results to identify individual cows with high SCCs.
Meanwhile, Aurivo milk suppliers have lodged a complaint with the Competition Authority, alleging that they are being subjected to "unacceptable anti-competitive" conditions in a new milk contract.
They claim that the co-op's milk supply and purchase agreement "is using its dominance and its quota position to prevent competition for the ex-farm milk supply".
The completed contracts are due to be submitted to aurivo today. A key complaint among the dissatisfied suppliers is the requirement of 12 months notice to exit a 36 month contract that is due to commence on january 1 next year.
Aurivo CEO Aaron Forde claimed this week that an "overwhelming majority" had returned the completed agreement. He added that it was a voluntry agreement and that the co-op would continue to collect milk from suppliers that refused to sign the contract.
"Milk suppliers are happy with them with no major issues raised," he said.
The Competition Authority declined to comment on the matter.