Steady as she goes for dairy in the West

Aurivo Co-op’s general manager for dairy, Eoghan Sweeney, has told AgriLand that the prospects for milk production in the West of Ireland remain bright.

“Our suppliers are behind quota at the present time. But it’s a situation that we are checking on a daily basis,” he added.

“Aurivo has a significant  core of winter milk producers, as we are important suppliers of fresh dairy products to the Irish market the year round. We are currently paying a base price, including Vat, of 39 cent per litre for milk. I am not sure if the market will strengthen further. However, I do not expect farm gate prices to fall in any real sense over the coming months. The good weather during the summer and autumn has allowed our 1,000 milk suppliers to replenish their forage stocks. So, yes, the prospects for milk moving forward are extremely positive.”

A survey carried out by the co-op at the end of last year indicated that Aurivo farmer suppliers will push to increase milk output by around 20 per cent, once quotas end in 2015.

“We have sufficient processing capacity to cope with these increased volumes,”  Sweeney further explained. “We are working closely with the Irish Dairy Board to secure new export markets. And the prospects, in this regard, are extremely positive. Our product range for export is very much focused on the production of milk powders. We have been successful in expanding our sales base in Asia. And, obviously, we want to build on this for the future.”

Aurivo is also very active in producing and selling a range of branded dairy products on the home market. Recent weeks have been marked by the launch of a new ‘Connacht Gold’ milk range.

“We have added a new 1.65 litre bottle to our range of milk products,” Sweeney continued.

“The new bottle is the result of an expansive market research campaign, which highlighted consumers’ views on the need for convenience and reduced food wastage. The new bottle is a convenient size which neatly fits into the fridge and is easier to pour. It is the first 1.65 litre bottle on the market and is the first time that skimmed milk is available in a size above one litre. As the largest supplier of fresh milk in the west, we understand the importance of choice for our customers and we continue to invest in our products to bring greater choice to the marketplace.”

Image: Cows on grass. Photo O’Gorman Photography