Northern Ireland dairy co-operative Dale Farm has said it has seen "an almost 300%" increase in the volume of milk being offered for its fixed-price contract.

The figure compares to the firm's previous contract offered in January 2019.

Dale Farm announced its first fixed-milk price contract option in January 2018, followed by a second the following year. However, its third has proved the most popular to-date.

Due to commence on January 1, 2021, the new three-year fixed-price contract will see farms which sign up supply an agreed volume of milk each month at a base price of 26p/L for April to September and 29p/L for October to March.

Producers were able to offer either 10%, 15%, 20%, 25% or 30% of their supply for each of the 12 months from October 2019 to September 2020 for inclusion.

Milk supplied on the contract will also be eligible for quality payments for somatic cell count SCC, Bactocount, protein and butterfat in line with Dale Farm's standard quality payments.

'Offering stability'

Commenting on the scheme, Dale Farm group commercial director Stephen Cameron said: “We are pleased to see our latest fixed-milk price contract option being well received and supported by Dale Farm producers throughout Northern Ireland.

“Fixed-milk price schemes can help offer stability from volatile dairy markets and it is encouraging to see so many farmers considering their business needs and opting for this type of contract.”