Major Northern Ireland dairy cooperative Dale Farm has reported its highest turnover and profit to date for the financial year ending March 2022.

The overall group turnover at the cooperative is up to £591 million (previous year £524 million).

The group operating profit was reported at £25.6 million (previous year £14.0 million); a group net-profit before tax of £22.1 million (previous year £8.2 million); and an Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) of £33.8 million (previous year £20.8 million).

The milk price paid to producers for the financial year averaged at 33.88p/L – up 5.56p/L year-on-year – the highest Dale Farm has ever paid its farmers.

“I am pleased to see this strong performance by our cooperative and the talented people within it,” commented Nick Whelan, group chief executive, Dale Farm.

“Our focus is ensuring that our business is as efficient and profitable as possible so that we can pay the most competitive milk price – whilst also building a stable future for Dale Farm and the farmers who own our cooperative.

“In recent years, turnover has grown by 60% and profits have almost tripled.

“Achieving that means constantly adapting to change and taking difficult decisions, reviewing those areas that can no longer deliver for us and investing strongly in those that do.

“This year’s results are evidence that this approach is working.

“As we move forward, this type of strategy is more appropriate than ever. The current level of unprecedented cost inflation will require focused management.

“At the same time, we need to proactively ensure we have a suitable asset replacement programme in place that maintains and builds processing capacity for future growth.”

Dale Farm is owned by over 1,300 dairy farmers who supply the cooperative with milk.

The average amount of milk produced/farm during the 2021/22 financial period increased by almost 4%.