Apart from Glanbia, no milk processor in the Republic of Ireland has revealed plans as of yet for limiting milk supply during peak season over the coming years.
However, when asked about this, answers ranged from co-ops clearly stating that they have no plans at present, to some processors keeping their cards close to their chest, giving little away.
Last week, Glanbia revealed its decision to introduce a milk supply mechanism to “manage the rate of growth in peak milk supplies from next year”, effectively introducing a restriction on growth in milk supply volumes during the “peak supply months” of April, May and June.
Following on from this announcement, AgriLand reached out to Ireland’s other major milk processors including: Dairygold; Lakeland Dairies; Aurivo; Arrabawn; and Kerry Group to ask if they have any plans for milk supply measures or limitations during peak supply months.
First off, a spokesperson for Dairygold said:
The 2020-2025 Dairygold Milk Planning Census, carried out in Q1 2020, queried members’ milk production ambitions up to 2025. It forecast a more modest increase in milk expansion across the Dairygold supplier base of circa 2.6% per annum.
“As things stand, Dairygold’s processing capacity is sufficient to deal with the forecast volume increases to 2025,” the spokesperson added.
Lakeland Dairies did not answer the question directly, instead offering a vague response saying:
“Handling milk processing at peak is an annually recurring challenge for all dairy co-operatives including Lakeland.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Aurivo said the western co-op has “currently no plans around limitations during peak; however, volumes and plant capacities are constantly kept under review”.
Carbery said it can “confirm that it has no plans for milk supply measures or limitations during the peak supply period of April, May and June”.
Arrabawn said in a statement that:
Arrabawn has recently invested in increased capacity. We have no plans at present to limit supply but will continue to monitor the situation into the future.
Finally, a Kerry Group representative said: “Since the abolition of quotas in 2015, milk supply volume to Kerry Group has increased by over 20% to 1.2 billion litres in 2020.
“As per our most recent milk supplier survey, yearly growth of 2.5% is anticipated over the next five years and we are currently reviewing our processing capacity for the coming years.”
From the above, processors have provided a mixed bag in terms of clarity for suppliers. As the annual “pinch period” of the supply peak approaches, the dairy industry will enter “top gear” to cater for the bulk of the milk being sent in for 2021.