Kerry co-op to offer cash for shares
Members of the €2.2bn Kerry co-op can swap out their co-op shares for cash

Kerry co-op is to offer an opportunity for members to cash in their shares. A board meetingon Wednesday approved the proposal to offer an cash out opportunity later this year, with subsequent opportunities to follow in future years.

Kerry co-op owns 13.7% of the shareholding in Kerry Group, worth over €2.2bn. The average shareholding among Kerry co-op's 13,267 shareholders is thus valued at approximately €167,000. The money paid out to shareholders will be regarded as income and subject to income tax.

Business purchase

The board are also intent on exploring the option of purchasing the agribusiness from Kerry Group plc. Negotiations between the two sides will now be required, as no indicative price or valuation model is contained in the optional clause set out in the contract between the two entities.

Current relations between the co-op and the plc are at a low ebb, following the prolonged row over bonus payments. The arbitration process to resolve that issue has been completed, with both sides awaiting a ruling.

The Irish Farmers Journal understands that the Kerry co-op share register is still administered by Kerry Group, so their involvement in the upcoming process will be required.

Just under 2,000t of SMP remains in EU intervention stocks
As intervention stocks are nearly cleared, the latest SMP sale saw just 33t sold at a price of €1,660/t.

There is just under 2,000t of skim milk powder (SMP) remaining in European intervention stocks following the latest SMP sale.

A small amount of 33t of Finnish stocks was sold at the most recent tender on Tuesday 16 April. It sold for €1,660/t.

The next tender will take place on 21 May when 1,106t will be offered. The vast majority of the remaining stocks are in Spain, while there are smaller amounts available in Germany, and the UK.

Some 380,000t of SMP has been sold out of intervention over the last 12 months, with all Irish stocks having been cleared in February.

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Milk Quality Ireland to address the challenges of dairy
The transition to selective dry cow therapy will be an important issue for Milk Quality Ireland.

The Irish Milk Quality Co-operative Society Ltd (IMQCS) has changed its name to Milk Quality Ireland Co-operative Society Ltd following a decision by its committee of management.

Milk Quality Ireland is a collaborative body with a remit in the area of dairy farm infrastructure, which includes representatives from the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS), the dairy co-ops, Teagasc, milking machine manufacturers and milking machine technicians.

It was established 30 years ago in 1989 to improve milk quality standards in Ireland, to provide suitable training and certification programmes in milking machine testing and installation and to strive to ensure that Irish milking machine installation and testing standards equate with best international practice.

Milk Quality Ireland also maintains a register of certified milking machine technicians, with 263 technicians currently on the Milk Quality Ireland register.

Milk Quality Ireland will continue this important work with a renewed focus on helping the dairy industry and farmers to meet significant new demands

The chair of Milk Quality Ireland Jerry Long said: “I’m extremely pleased to announce the unveiling of Milk Quality Ireland. In recent years, we have focused on broader areas of milk quality, as well as providing training and certification of milking machine technicians.

“Milk Quality Ireland will continue this important work with a renewed focus on helping the dairy industry and farmers to meet significant new demands in relation to milk quality.

“These new demands relate to the adoption of non-chlorine cleaning protocols for milking equipment and bulk milk tanks, which will require changes to existing practices at farm level in order to respond to market requirements.

The body will also play a vital role in ensuring that there are sustainable career pathways and fit for purpose educational programmes for the service providers

“Furthermore, the transition to selective dry cow therapy will be an important issue for Milk Quality Ireland, as new legislation will prohibit the blanket use of antibiotics on dairy farms by 2022. This transition will require careful management including the need to scale up the level of milk recording across the national herd,” he said.

He also said that the body will also play a vital role in ensuring that there are sustainable career pathways and fit for purpose educational programmes for the service providers that Irish dairy farmers depend upon and help to underpin the industry’s high-quality standards.

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Applications double for dairy energy grants
The scheme supporting variable speed drives to reduce electricity bills from milking machines has now closed for this year.

The number of dairy farmers applying for energy-saving grants doubled this year, according to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

Some 174 farmers applied for support to retrofit vacuum or milk pump systems with variable speed drive and controls, which cut electricity use in milking parlours. This is up from around 90 last year, of which 69 were successful in securing an average €4,000 grant.

Over 100 of this year’s applicants have already been cleared, as processing continues since the closing of the scheme, SEAI small business manager Andrea Carroll told the Irish Farmers Journal.

The SEAI has also opened a new 30% grant scheme for LED lighting, open to all small businesses including farmers, with €2m available.

It is different from the recent requirement for all lighting under TAMS II to be LED and the requirements of the two schemes are different, which means a single project cannot be double-granted, Carroll explained.

“There is a lot of interest in it and the time frame is quite short,” she added, encouraging farmers to apply before the 28 May deadline.

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