Ireland is currently in the grip of Storm Emma and creameries have indicated that milk collections may face some disruptions over the coming days.
Ian Hamilton, group logistics manager with LacPatrick Dairies, said: “Despite the heavy snow overnight, LacPatrick hauliers are managing to collect all milk from our suppliers.
“Roads are treacherous and conditions are set to deteriorate even further on Wednesday night. We have ramped up collections today (Wednesday) in an attempt to counteract any disruptions in the coming days.”
Hamilton thanked the co-op’s suppliers, who have made a huge effort in keeping their lanes cleared and gritted.
“All this helps getting milk collected. Our priority is the safety of our drivers and, unless conditions are favourable, collections will be delayed until safe to do so. As always, our hauliers will do their utmost to get the collection done. We will make a decision on collections in the coming days later today,” he said.
A spokesperson for Lakeland Dairies told AgriLand that the immediate period ahead will be difficult for dairy farmers, as they seek to continue their milk and to care for their herds.
Lakeland Dairies is making every possible effort to maintain milk collection operations in line with weather and road conditions.
The co-op said that any help in having yards and lanes gritted to assist milk carters with collections would be very much appreciated. It also asked suppliers to let milk carters know if roads are dangerous or impassible in their area over the next few days.
It has also advised suppliers to prioritise safety for themselves and everyone on the farm during this period of bad weather.
“Lakeland will continue to stay in touch with suppliers to keep them updated,” the spokesperson said.
A spokesperson for Dairygold told AgriLand: “Dairygold established an internal task team who are monitoring the situation closely.
A strategy to increase milk collections has been implemented to minimise any disruption caused by extreme weather conditions on Thursday and Friday.
“We would advise members that safety is paramount and to grit lanes and yards to facilitate the safe collection of milk.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Arrabawn said the Galway/midlands area is OK and collections in Tipperary – and further down the country – are still ongoing but are more difficult.
The co-op is currently assessing milk collections on a hour-by-hour basis.
Based on the weather alerts issued in recent days, Glanbia Ireland put a contingency plan in place over the weekend, a spokesperson said.
We worked to maximise milk collections and feed deliveries early in the week to help prepare for the forecasted adverse conditions.
“Road conditions mean that in some areas there will inevitably be disruption to normal milk collection and feed delivery schedules – farmers are asked to be patient,” the spokesperson added.
As it stands, all of Glanbia’s milk processing sites and depots are currently in operation, but this is being reviewed on an on-going basis as the situation evolves.
Glanbia has also deployed rigid milk collection vehicles – more suitable for snow conditions – to the worst affected regions.
“Where possible, farmers are advised to clear and grit lanes/yards to facilitate safe milk collection,” the spokesperson added.
Glanbia Ireland chairman Henry Corbally thanked all employees and contractors for their efforts in the challenging conditions.
He added: “The safety of our farmers, hauliers and employees is our number one priority at this challenging time. Farmers are reminded to farm safely at all times.”
A boost for liquid milk sales
Touching on liquid milk sales, Tommy O’Donaghue of LacPatrick Dairies said there has been a definite spike in liquid milk sales this week.
As consumers have flocked to their local shops to stock up on supplies ahead of this week’s snow, milk sales have seen a sharp increase. LacPatrick noted a doubling in sales of milk this week.
The commercial manager said: “The so-called ‘Beast from the East’ has been very good for retail milk sales. We saw the pictures of retailers being cleared out of bread, but shoppers have been stocking up on milk too.
This week has been like Christmas week in terms of sales and for people stocking up on the essentials. It’s great to see that the people of Ireland still love the taste of fresh and nutritious real milk.
“With the snow set to come and go by the weekend, we would expect sales to return to more normal levels,” he said.