Winter bonus payments boosted the Tirlán December milk price to take it to the top of the December milk league, with a price of €5.30/kg milk solids or over 38c/l in old money excluding VAT at base fat and protein.

After this, there are a number of processors paying 36c/l in old money, including Arrabawn and Tipperary Co-op, that pay unconditional December payments to all suppliers.

Arrabawn pays a 2c/l December bonus, while Tipperary pays a 3c/l bonus on December milk.

The reality for most suppliers is that December milk is next to nothing in the overall scheme of things for the annual supply.

For many milk suppliers, the December milk cheque is non-existent completely as all cows are dried off. December base prices do, however, set the standard for early spring milk.

The west Cork co-ops lifted base price 1c/l to keep them up near the top. Indeed, the rest of the big players all lifted December price also to reflect the improving commodity prices on a global scale.

I have left the cumulative column the same as last month and, next week, I propose to use the actual volumes per month for 2023 as per the CSO supply numbers to show the annual cumulative payment for the typical spring milk supplier.

All year, I’ve been using numbers from previous years to show the differences in cumulative or year-to-date payments. It still won’t be the final payment as there could be top-ups once co-ops gather all information for annual general meetings and potential top-ups.

Dairygold has already announced a 0.5c/l milk price top-up.

Kerry has also made a top-up payment and Kerry suppliers are expecting more as are west Cork suppliers.

Both of these ‘top-ups’ will be paid on 2023 supplies.