Significant gaps have opened up on base milk prices paid by NI processors for March supplies, with a difference of 3.55p/l between the highest and lowest starting prices available.

Glanbia Ireland is out in front on a base of 39.15p/l, following a 4p/l increase for milk supplied last month. It is the largest individual monthly price rise we have ever recorded in NI, with the total Glanbia price including a 0.4p/l sustainability bonus, payable on all litres.

Dale Farm has the next highest base at 39.05p/l following a 3.5p/l increase. A gap of 1.4p/l then exists to Aurivo on 37.75p/l, with the west of Ireland processor opting for a 3p/l rise for March.

Both Lakeland Dairies and Glanbia Cheese are on 37.5p/l, with Strathroy on 36.5p/l after the Omagh-based processor opted for a 2p/l rise in base price, which effectively is a 1p/l increase given its 1p/l winter bonus no longer applies.

Unlike other processors, Strathroy is heavily dependent on returns from the liquid milk market, but with a new dryer ready to be commissioned, it will help diversify its product mix.

For analysis of March prices, see our NI milk league in next week’s edition.

Milk quality

Meanwhile, DAERA analysis shows that milk solids in NI continue to edge up year on year.

Butterfat averaged 4.10% in 2021 up from 4.06% in 2020, although protein at 3.30% is unchanged.

In 2018 butterfat stood at 4.03% with protein on 3.28%.

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