Tirlán, Ireland’s largest dairy processor, announced results for 2023 which were generally in line with what we have already seen from the rest of the industry in the wake of a challenging year.

Turnover was 17% lower at €2.53bn, almost entirely driven by the drop in global dairy prices.

Operating profit was down 5% to €68.3m, while profit after tax slipped to €42.3m.

The co-op said that milk supply was back 2.8% on 2022 and that its milk pool stood at 3.1bn litres. It paid €1.3bn to farmers for milk and grain during the year.

CEO designate Seán Molloy said that milk supply so far this year was around 10% behind 2023’s level.

As the number of cows on farms is unchanged, the drop is due almost entirely to the weather. He said he expects the full year to be back by between 3% and 5%.

He said that butterfat was holding up while proteins have been back in the milk supplied in 2024.

Net debt at the processor dropped from €234m in 2022 to €155m last year – the lowest level since 2014. Tirlán paid dividends of €6.5m, or 19.058c per share to members.

Molloy said the business review that began earlier this year is ongoing and Tirlán is looking at what operations should look like for the future.

“Ireland is a high-cost economy. There is a regulatory environment that we have to be aware of and the era of significant growth is not going to be anything like it was in the past,” he said.