Having increased base price by 3p/l and doubled its winter bonus to 3p/l, Tirlán has been catapulted to the top of the NI milk league for November supplies.

The decision by the co-op to implement a significant price rise came after local Tirlán suppliers had voiced their concerns about prices in the second half of 2023, at a meeting ahead of the Royal Ulster Winter Fair.

The co-op moves up four places from our October analysis and it is the fourth time this year that Tirlán has topped the milk league.

A 0.4p/l sustainability payment left Tirlán/Fivemiletown suppliers on a starting price of 33.4p/l for milk supplied in November, up 6p/l on October.

Factoring in adjustments for milk solids under its hybrid payment model, where 50% of price is paid using an A+B-C calculation and 50% under the traditional increments, Tirlán tops the league on a final price of 36.45p/l.

Milk quality

The milk league is based on a 750,000-litre producer with solids and a monthly supply profile in line with the NI average.

The solids used in our calculations are those actually recorded by DAERA for the same month in 2022, when butterfat averaged 4.31%, with protein at 3.38%, lactose of 4.70% and TBC and SCC of 18 and 177, respectively.

All change

Slipping one place to second in our monthly analysis is Dale Farm, despite a 2p/l increase which put the co-op out in front on starting price.

However, deductions of close to 0.5p/l for milk transport, plus smaller premiums relating to TBC and SCC, leaves Dale Farm just behind Tirlán.

Lakeland Dairies sits in third, a gain of three places on the October league. Normally, Lakeland’s 3p/l winter bonus helps to position the co-op on top of the table during the final two months of the year – it is the first time in 10 years that NI’s largest co-op has not led our November price league.

However, Lakeland did set the tone for price increases for November milk, with a 2p/l rise to its base along with the 3p/l winter bonus helping the co-op finish on 34.93p/l.

That leaves Aurivo dropping two places to fourth despite a 1.25p/l increase, ahead of Strathroy who fell two places to fifth after adding 1p/l to its base. Leprino Foods went up by 2p/l, but still drops to the bottom of our November league.

In terms of average prices paid over the last 12 months, Strathroy has overtaken Dale Farm to lead our analysis, paying an average of 36.69p/l to a 750,000-litre producer. Dale Farm is second with Tirlán holding third and no changes to the bottom half of the table.

Co-op averages

Shown in Figure 1 is an estimate of the monthly payout to a 750,000-litre producer supplying 7.4% of their annual milk using the actual fat and protein averages recorded by each processor in November.

Tirlán has the highest payout at £20,596 followed by Dale Farm in second and Lakeland third.

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