Glanbia is falling very short of providing the best milk price in the country and is opening the gate for more milk to go to Strathroy, according to disgruntled suppliers at the IFA Dairy Conference this week.

Sean Molloy, Director of Strategy, Glanbia Ingredients Ireland Ltd said he took responsibility for the introduction of Glanbia’s Milk Supply Agreements. “It was my scheme and it was a voluntary scheme. It’s going to come right for those in the Scheme and I think they will be happy they are in it. We are extremely transparent about it. Everything is put out there.

“This is the first year we could put money aside and it’s the first year we could do that through our new structure. We’d like it to be more than €5m, but it meant something to the people in August and hopefully it will mean something in the spring. It’s a start. No one wants to be cutting milk prices as quotas are coming to an end. It’s in our interest to try turn this around.”

He said that Glanbia, as an organisation has paid out €14m in support to farmers this year. “We were one of the first in the world to do something about volatility. Fonterra were in contact with us about what we were doing.”

He admitted that with Glanbia being first to set the milk price every month, it has a lot of responsibility. However, he said that hopefully others will also follow suit when it turns the other way.

He also said that it was unfair to compare milk prices between processors. “When one starts to compare milk prices it’s a deep science, and we have to be very careful about making those comparisons.”

Meanwhile, Strathroy Ireland Director Ruairi Cunningham has confirmed that the company has significantly expanded its producer milk pool.

“An additional 24 farmers, with a combined annual supply base of 15m litres, joined us at the beginning of October. They hail from Wexford, Laois, Kilkenny, Carlow and Meath.

“Our aim is to further expand our milk pool over the coming months. And we will achieve this. It’s common knowledge that hundreds of milk producers have not yet signed long term supply contracts. Large numbers of producers visited our stand at the recent Ploughing match, expressing an interest to supply Strathroy.

“We will be following up with these farmers on an individual basis in the very near future.”

The Strathroy Director also pointed out that milk producers, who had not committed to new supply contracts, could leave their current processor without notice from April 1 next year.