Dale Farm and Strathroy share the honours at the top of the NI milk league for August, with both processors paying 31.08p/l for milk collected on alternate days.

For Strathroy, August is the third month in a row, and fifth time this year it has led our analysis. In the case of Dale Farm, it last topped the league back in October 2022.

While Dale Farm paid a base of 30.55p/l, the co-op applies a milk collection charge whereas Strathroy does not. In the August league, that deduction to the Dale Farm price equates to 0.46p/l.

Factoring in the usual payments related to milk quality, hygiene, volume and Strathroy’s Red Tractor premium, our calculations show both processors finished with the same price paid.

Milk quality

The milk quality figures used in our analysis are based on the NI average recorded by DAERA in the same month last year. That means butterfat is at 4.05%, with protein of 3.29%, lactose at 4.7% and TBC and SCC of 22 and 213, respectively.

Chasing Pack

Behind the top two, Aurivo is the best of the rest, holding on to third place thanks to its 29p/l base price.

Leprino Foods (formerly Glanbia Cheese) climbs two places to fourth with its league position boosted by its 0.4p/l mozzarella bonus and 0.5p/l sustainability payment.

Tirlán/Fivemiletown slips one spot to fifth, which is the processor’s lowest league position since October 2020. That leaves Lakeland Dairies at the foot of the table.

Rolling average

Despite dropping down the monthly league, Tirlán continues to lead our analysis for milk pricing over the 12-month period ending August 2023, but the gap to second placed Dale Farm continues to narrow.

Just 0.05p/l separates the top two positions, down from 0.2p/l in the previous milk league analysis.

Strathroy remains in third with no changes in the bottom half of the table.

Co-op averages

To compare prices, the August league table is calculated at NI average solids, however, there is a range in milk quality across processors.

Shown in Figure 1 is the actual butterfat and protein percentages of milk supplied to each processor during August 2023, alongside an estimate of a monthly pay out to a 750,000-litre producer supplying 7.7% of their annual milk supply during the month.

Dale Farm has the highest payout at £18,315 thanks to butterfat at 4.22% and 3.36% protein, while Strathroy is second on £18,134.

In the case of Lakeland Dairies, a payment as part of the co-op’s milk solids enhancement scheme is included.

Read more

Farmers will not tolerate cuts to TB payments - UFU

Dairy AI drops by 9% as farmers switch to beef breeding