Strathroy Dairy has made it two months in a row at the top of the NI milk league, with a table topping price of 31.75p/l for milk collected on alternate days during July.
It is the fourth time this year that the Omagh-based processor has led our milk league, with its 31p/l base price for July only bettered by Dale Farm on 31.05p/l.
However, Dale Farm applies a transport charge for collecting milk off farm, whereas Strathroy does not. Ultimately, it is this transport charge that makes the difference to the outcome of the top two positions.
The NI milk league is based on a dairy farmer producing 750,000 litres annually, with a monthly supply profile matching that of the average farm.
For July, our calculations use the DAERA milk quality figures for the same month last year. That means butterfat is set at 3.98%, with protein at 3.25%, lactose at 4.71%, a TBC of 28 and SCC at 217.
With milk solids at their lowest value for the year to date, the difference across processors in what they pay for fat and protein has a marginal impact in the July analysis.
It leaves the base price as the major factor determining final league positions.
Behind Strathroy, there is little change to the July league tables.
Dale Farm remains in second on 31.26p/l, while Aurivo holds onto the third spot for the second month in a row.
Tirlán remains in fourth with the aid of its 0.4p/l sustainability bonus, while Lakeland Dairies and Glanbia Cheese are at the foot of the table with both paying prices below 30p/l.
Despite finishing mid-table for July, Tirlán remains on top of our analysis of milk prices over the 12-month period ending July 2023.
However, second place Dale Farm continues to close the price gap, due to the NI co-op being ahead of Tirlán in recent monthly analysis.
The July milk league is calculated on a standard litre to directly compare what price each processor would pay our example farmer at the outlined milk solids.
However, these figures differ from the actual fat and protein values recorded in July 2023, which are significantly higher, as outlined in Figure 1.
The bar graph estimates the monthly payout to a 750,000-litre farmer supplying 8.5% of their annual yield in July, based on the actual fat and protein of the milk collected by each processor.
Strathroy paid the highest monthly cheque at £20,383, with Dale Farm narrowly behind in second.