Dairygold Co-Operative Society Limited reported results for 2023 which reflected the difficult trading conditions faced by all in the dairy industry last year.

Turnover was €254.7m lower at €1.4bn, with earnings before interest, depreciation, taxation and amortisation (EBITDA) down almost 20% to €55m.

Profit after tax at the processor barely stayed in positive territory, coming in at €3.5m, down from €23.2m in 2022.

The society said that the low level of profitability reflected its board’s decision to pay strong milk and grain prices during the year to help minimise the impact of reduced on-farm margins.

The average quoted milk price for the year dropped to 38.4c/l, down from 54.9c/l in 2022.

'Perfect storm'

Interim chief executive Michael Harte said: “2023 was a difficult year for the dairy and tillage sectors as market returns declined significantly from the unprecedented highs of 2022.

"Unfavourable weather, combined with continued high input and processing costs, created a perfect storm for farmers and processors alike.”

On a divisional basis, the society said Dairy Ireland operated in a very challenging environment.

Milk supplied to the processor dropped by 70m litres to 1.41bn litres in the year. Dairygold said that adverse weather and sustainability concerns affected on-farm milk production volumes.

The agribusiness division saw falling sales of feed and fertiliser as farmers tried to keep their costs under control. However, Dairygold said that retail sales were generally in line with 2022’s performance.


Dairygold Health and Nutrition made a significant investment with the purchase of a 59% stake in Vita Actives Limited, a supplier of nutrition and nutraceutical ingredients to global customers.

Dairygold paid an initial €46.3m for the 59% share, with an additional €11m due if Vita Actives’ financial results in 2024 meet expectations. This puts the valuation of Vita Actives at just under €100m.

Dairygold chair Seán O’Brien said that the challenges in 2023 “were met head on by our members and the business and Dairygold is in a strong operational and financial position to continue to sustainably grow both the business and members’ enterprises”.

On the future of Ireland’s nitrates derogation, he added that “strong leadership, including in-person engagement with [European] Commission personnel, is needed now to address industry uncertainty and allow farmers to plan for the future.”

See full analysis of Dairygold’s results, including an interview with both the interim CEO and chair in this week's Irish Farmers Journal.