NI suppliers call for Lakeland and Dale Farm to follow Glanbia in solids-based pricing

A group of northern dairy farmers have called for their processors to follow suit with Glanbia Ireland, which this week announced it would move to constituent-based pricing by 2024.

The letter, which is addressed to the board members of Dale Farm and Lakeland, said the members of the Ardglass Dairy Discussion Group had taken “great encouragement” from the news that Glanbia Ireland has set out a transition period to further incentivise the production of high-quality milk in Northern Ireland.

Ardglass Dairy Discussion Group consists of 18 mainly spring-calving farmers. Despite the name, though its members are spread across Co. Down, with farms included based as far north as Coleraine.

Also Read: Glanbia to move northern suppliers to solids-based pricing by 2024

“NI lags well behind most European countries because we are incentivised to increase yield rather than milk solids,” it read.

“The mobilisation of water in cows uses a lot of energy, which is even more wasteful when producing lower quality milk.

Most of our milk is dried and processed for export and, due to its lower quality, the result is poor energy efficiency for processors and increased costs, which must come off the milk price paid to producers.

“The environmental challenges facing our industry in the future are clear, farmers and processors must work together to overcome them, incentivising higher milk solids from all NI dairy cows will go a long way to improving our carbon footprint.

“Our group members are currently suppliers of Lakeland and Dale Farm and we put this question to our board members, when will you stop dragging your heels and follow the lead of Glanbia Milk?

“Better incentives for milk quality is the first step – full milk solids payment should be the end goal.”

Chairman James Taylor said he hoped other processors would also take a gradual approach, adding that examples in the Netherlands and other European countries had shown that high-solids could be achieved outside of spring-calving systems.

“The way Glanbia Milk has approached it is quite sensible,” he said. “But the end game needs to be a full solids payment.”