Dairy processors have increased milk prices by 1p to 2.5p/l for January supplies, making it the third successive month that all processors raised their respective base prices.

A 2.5p/l increase by Leprino foods boosts its base to 32.75p/l. The Magheralin-based company also pays a 0.5p/l sustainability bonus, leaving suppliers on a starting price of 33.25p/l.

Tirlán/Fivemiletown is out in front in terms of starting price after a 1p/l increase put its suppliers on 35.4p/l. Included in that price is a 3p/l winter bonus and 0.4p/l sustainability payment.

Aurivo added 1p/l for January, leaving suppliers on a starting price of 34.31p/l, which includes a 2p/l winter bonus. January is the final month that Aurivo pays a winter milk premium. However, the co-op has also announced a 13th payment to be included in the January milk check, which equates to 0.21p/l on all litres supplied from July to December 2023.

Elsewhere, Strathroy also opted for a 1p/l increase, and along with a 1p/l winter bonus, suppliers of the Omagh based processor are on a starting price of 34p/l.

Big two

The two largest processors of NI milk both announced price increases earlier this month. In the case of Lakeland Dairies, it added 2.5p/l for January, putting suppliers on a base of 32.75p/l once its 0.5p/l sustainability payment is included.

Dale Farm opted for a 1.5p/l increase, which brings its starting price to 34.55p/l before deductions for milk collection.

NI production

The latest statistics published by DAERA show NI milk production totalled 2.520bn litres over 2023, a marginal drop from the 2.525bn litres during the previous year and 20m litres below the record annual production back in 2021.

Farmgate milk price averaged 34.94p/l in 2023, down from an average 44.54p/l in 2022. For the average NI dairy farm producing 750,000 litres, that price differential equates to a £72,000 drop in annual milk sales.

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