Lakeland Dairies has today (Tuesday, October 24) unveiled plans to launch a new voluntary fixed milk price scheme in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The scheme, which will run from January to December 2024, will give all of its 3,200 farm family suppliers the opportunity to lock in either 5% or 10% of their milk volumes based on 2022 volumes.

According to the co-op, farmers in the Republic of Ireland can get a price of 39.5c/L (including VAT) for the months of April to September with a price of 40.5c/L (including VAT) available for October to March.

This is based on 3.3% protein and 3.6% butterfat.

In Northern Ireland, a price of 32.5p/L is available for the period April to September with a price of to 33.5p/L available for October to March.

According to Lakeland Dairies group chief executive, Colin Kelly, the co-op has been “acutely aware of the volatility of global dairy markets over the past 18 months”.

Kelly said there had been record high farmgate prices in 2022 followed by “an unprecedented market collapse throughout 2023”.

“At all times, we seek to offer our farm family suppliers tools and measures to help mitigate against the worst of market downturns.

“Despite challenges experienced by some farmers nationally with fixed milk price schemes last year, we feel they have been proven to be a useful tool in helping to manage milk price volatility over the last decade,” he added.

“They give farmers a degree of clarity which allows them to plan for the time ahead.”

He said the co-op believes the price contained in the latest Lakeland Dairies voluntary fixed price scheme “offers our farmer suppliers a competitive price based on current and future market projections and conditions”.

Kelly added: “We’re asking suppliers to examine the details of the voluntary fixed milk price scheme closely, take the necessary advice and make an informed choice based on all the facts.

“The society does not have a specific requirement for fixed milk price schemes but we feel it is important to give our farm family suppliers the option to lock in a portion of their milk at a price that is above today’s market returns.”

According to Lakeland Dairies, online applications can be made via its website from 9:00a.m on Wednesday, October 25 until Friday, October 27 at 12:00p.m.

The co-op has confirmed that the fixed milk price scheme is also eligible for all existing Lakeland Dairies bonuses.

September price

Lakeland Dairies held its milk price for September supplies.

Lakeland will pay a base price of 34c/L at constituents of 3.6% butterfat and 3.3% protein for September milk in the Republic of Ireland.

In Northern Ireland, a base price of 27.25p/L will be paid for milk supplied in September which is also unchanged from the price paid in August.