For the first time since December 2022, the milk price paid by Lakeland to its NI suppliers is set to be ahead of its main rival Dale Farm.

Of the four processors to set a price for milk supplied in March, only two have increased their base price.

Last Thursday, Lakeland announced a 0.5p/l increase, along with a 0.8p/l input support payment to help suppliers struggling with production costs due to challenging weather.

Combining both payments brings suppliers to a starting price of 35.3p/l for March, before the usual top-ups related to milk quality.

The 0.8p/l support payment is payable on all litres and is part of a wider support package for farmers supplying NI’s largest milk processor.

Other measures include a £30/t rebate on livestock rations purchased through the co-op’s own feed business. The rebate has been in place since November, albeit at a lower rate of £20/t. A further £10/t support is available on straights purchased by farmers looking to stretch silage stocks.


Strathroy also announced an increase to base price, adding 1p/l for March.

However, as Strathroy’s winter bonus payment of 1p/l drops out of its monthly payments in March, the outlined increase effectively keeps suppliers on an unchanged starting price of 35.5p/l.

Dale Farm

On Monday, Dale Farm announced it would hold its base on 35.55p/l, which includes sustainability and loyalty bonuses. However, unlike other processors, transport charges apply.

Elsewhere, Leprino also announced it would leave its base price unchanged for March, keeping suppliers on a starting price of 34.25p/l, including a 0.5p/l sustainability bonus payment.

That leaves Tirlán and Aurivo as the remaining processors still to set a price for March, although last week, Tirlán did announce a support payment of 2.5p/l on all litres supplied last month.

Small price boost at GDT

Tuesday’s GDT auction ended with a marginal increase of 0.1% to the price index, although there were mixed fortunes for key commodities.

Butter price fell by 1.4%, with cheddar recording a bigger drop of 8.5%, although there is an element of market realignment after cheddar recorded a 4.1% price increase in early April.

Skim milk powder was unchanged in value, while whole milk powder recorded a 0.4% price increase. Six out of the eight GDT auctions held in 2024 have ended with a positive outcome.

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