Lakeland Dairies is the latest dairy processor to offer a 0.5p/l payment to support suppliers in undertaking sustainability actions across their farms.

The co-op’s new sustainability strategy “Farming for a better future” will run for a three-year period, starting in January 2024.

To qualify for the new 0.5p/l payment, which is payable on all litres, farmers must implement four actions from a list of nine possible measures. They must also have a signed milk agreement in place.


Only one measure is mandatory across all Lakeland suppliers and it requires NI farmers to complete a carbon audit using the Scotland Rural College (SRUC) AgreCalc programme. This is the same programme being used in the roll-out of carbon benchmarking across NI farms as part of farm quality assurance inspections.


The remaining three measures required are all voluntary, but must be implemented in each of the three years from 2024 to 2026.

The range of measures are relatively straightforward and options include:

  • a minimum of four milk recordings per year.
  • adding a family member or partner to the business shareholding.
  • developing a farm nutrient management plan.
  • using 0.5t of protected urea for every 100,000 litres of milk produced in the previous year.
  • using dairy sexed semen on 25% of breeding females.
  • a 5% reduction in SCC per year.
  • Verification

    Evidence that the voluntary measures have been implemented must be submitted annually to Lakeland and the co-op will prompt farmers when this information is due.

    Failure to provide evidence will result in a claw back of all, or part, of the sustainability payment issued.

    Field staff will be on hand to provide advice on the programme measure where necessary.

    Applications for the new sustainability payment must be submitted online by Friday 15 December 2023.

    Lakeland Dairies is the fourth processor in NI to implement a sustainability payment, with Leprino Foods and Tirlán already having schemes in place, while Dale Farm rolls out its version in January 2024.

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