Over 750 Kerry Group suppliers have applied to its fixed milk price scheme, which is set to run for three years at a fixed milk price of 31c/L including VAT.

The scheme was originally scheduled to close for applications at the end of September, however the deadline was extended due to additional interest.

The total number of applicants to the scheme represents close to 25% of Kerry’s 3,300 milk suppliers – who produce over 1.2 billion litres of milk annually.

With the deadline closing recently, a spokesman for the processor confirmed that over 750 suppliers will avail of the fixed price of 31c/L – VAT inclusive – for a portion of the milk produced on their farm between March and October.

Under the scheme, Kerry’s suppliers would have the choice of opting into a contracted milk supply of 5%, 10% or between 11% and 20% during the eight-month period. Beginning in 2018, the scheme will run until the end of 2020.

The fixed price of 31c/L including VAT is based on milk produced at 3.3% protein and 3.6% butterfat.

Recently, Kerry announced its decision to hold its milk price at 36c/L including VAT for milk manufactured in the ninth month of this year. This brought to an end four months of consecutive increases.

At the end of last month, Kerry announced that it was the first major milk processor to achieve 100% certification of its milk suppliers in Ireland under Bord Bia’s Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS).

The SDAS – which was launched in December 2013 under Origin Green – is a quality and sustainability programme that independently audits performance at farm level every 18 months.

Kerry’s Agribusiness division has been “actively engaged” with its milk suppliers, since the introduction of SDAS, to help guide them through the certification process.

Having reached 100% certification of its suppliers, Kerry Group’s focus is now set to turn to supporting farmers as they continue to optimise efficiencies and sustainable production.