The board of Lakeland Dairies has taken 0.5p/l off the price of milk supplied by NI farmers to the co-op in March, taking the base for the month to 25.25p/l.

It comes on the back of the 0.75p/l cut that applied in February, meaning that the base for March is now 1.25p/l less than what was paid for milk supplied in January 2019.

Largest processor

Lakeland is the largest milk processor operating in Northern Ireland after the merger deal with LacPatrick was completed at the end of March 2019.

It is understood that former LacPatrick suppliers will be paid the same base price (and on the same day) as Lakeland suppliers for March, so the 0.5p/l reduction also applies.

However, adjustments for quality and volume will be based on LacPatrick’s terms.

It will be April supplies before everyone is paid on the same system.

Weakness in European markets

Justifying the most recent price reduction, a Lakeland spokesperson pointed to continued weakness in the European markets, especially for butters and powders, driven by the considerable uncertainty around Brexit.

“There are persistently high volumes of dairy products in storage across Europe, while the fluctuations in the euro-sterling exchange rates are a significant contributing factor at present.

"Separately, the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) in New Zealand has been a positive, albeit from a lower base, and the society will continue to monitor the markets closely in order to return the highest possible price to our farmers in line with market returns,” said the spokesperson.

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