Lakeland Dairies is the first processor to announce its milk price for April supplies; it decided to hold at 31.28c/L including VAT.

This is the third consecutive month that the processor has decided to hold its milk price at 31.28c/L including VAT.

The most recent milk price increase from Lakeland Dairies came in January, when an increase of 1c/L was announced.

Lakeland Dairies operates within a 15-county catchment area across the northern half of the island of Ireland.

Last week, the dairy co-op posted strong financial results for the financial year ending December 31, 2016.

In spite of difficult dairy market conditions, the co-op turned in a very robust performance with revenues up by 2% to €601m.

This yielded an operating profit of €7.2m before exceptional costs, and Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, and Amortisation (EBITA) of €18.9m.

But, the co-op’s operating profit fell by more than 50% on year-earlier levels due to milk price supports.

Lakeland Dairies said it has strongly supported the milk price that it pays to its dairy farmers throughput the year.

The boards of other processors are expected to meet in the coming days to decide on their milk prices for April supplies.

Farm organisations remain positive

Recently, both the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) suggested optimism for continuing rises in milk prices.

The Chairperson of the ICMSA Dairy Committee, Gerald Quain, has stated that the outlook continues to be positive and that milk suppliers will be expecting co-ops and processors to announce price rises reflecting the improved returns in the dairy markets over the last six weeks.

Meanwhile, the IFA’s Dairy Committee Chairman, Sean O’Leary, suggested that there are 10 ‘very good reasons‘ for co-ops to remain ambitious when setting the April milk price as well as the peak milk prices over the next two months.