While December and 2021 is drawing to a close, the overall milk price winner is still a hard question to answer just yet on a number of fronts. December milk is not yet paid for. We have to wait until 20 January before we know exactly when the cheques land. Any bonuses for milk quality, such as somatic cell count or TBC bonuses etc, paid out to farmers are not included in any base price comparison, so this can make up a substantial amount of money in some co-ops.

Any other bonuses on milk delivered is not included and for a number of the co-ops, a ‘top up’ bonus is often distributed at the January, February or March board meeting.

In the table below, I have summarised and totalled up the monthly league graphic, which we run every month as soon as the milk cheques land. The table shows the cumulative milk cheque for a farmer in a spring seasonal curve at 3.55% protein and 4.2% fat. I’ve assumed no change in December milk price and estimated it by dividing the November cheque in half. December is a small cheque anyway for most spring producers.

It shows Lakeland out on top paying out €184,839 to a farmer delivering 500,000 litres of milk at 3.55% protein and 4.20% fat excluding VAT. In second place is Dairygold and third is west Cork co-op Drinagh, followed by our friends in the west, Aurivo.

Down the other end of the table are Boherbue, the small north Cork co-op, with Tipperary co-op just ahead of them.

This table is not audited, it doesn’t show the full picture, it is simply litres instead of milk solids, but it's a summary of what we published through the year, bringing all the solids to the same fat and protein.