The ICMSA leader Pat McCormack refused to be drawn on the impact of reforms to the Ornua board over the last year.

McCormack sits on the Ornua board and was asked if the reforms – which resulted in the CEOs of shareholder dairy processors giving up their board seats – had strengthened or weakened the board.

“It’s a different place. It’s early days,” McCormack replied.

However, he insisted that exchanges at board level were “robust”, although he conceded that there was not the “same level of detail on day-to-day issues as was there in the past”.

McCormack was responding to questions around Dairygold’s launch of its Pastureland brand in the US market.

The ICMSA leader said a situation where Dairygold and Glanbia are now competing with Ornua’s Kerrygold brand in the US was “not good for the primary producer”.

IFA president Tim Cullinan urged co-ops to work with Ornua rather than against it.

Both leaders admitted that they had not met Dairygold specifically on the Pastureland issue.