Crossborder dairy giant Lakeland is to slash 0.75p/L off its February milk price amid Brexit uncertainty and weakening market returns – but only in Northern Ireland.

Yesterday, the firm announced it would hold its price in the Republic of Ireland but it has since emerged that this will not extend to farmers in the north who will only be paid 25.75p/L.

It’s down from last month’s standard litre price of 26.5p.

Soon to be Northern Ireland’s largest milk processor, this month’s announcement will be the last price update before its merger with LacPatrick. It also comes just 17 days out from the UK’s expected departure from the EU.

The firm is supplied by around 750 Northern Ireland farmers, accounting for around a third of its suppliers and around half of Lakeland’s milk pool.

A spokesman for Lakeland Dairies said: “This is a reduction of 0.75p/L reflecting weaker market returns for Skim Milk Powder and Butter.

Market conditions have also been influenced by Brexit uncertainty which is having a generally negative effect on European prices.

“Separately, the New Zealand GDT Auction has remained steady.”

The spokesman added that Lakeland will continue to pay the highest possible milk price in line with market conditions.