Tirlán/Fivemiletown tops the first NI milk league for 2024, paying 38p/l to a 750,000l producer for milk collected on alternate days.

January is the third consecutive month that Tirlán has led our analysis. Its position is significantly helped by a 1p/l increase to base price, along with a 3p/l winter bonus and 0.4p/l sustainability payment.

Changes to Tirlán’s milk pricing structure also applied in January, starting with hygiene premiums rising to 0.35p/l for milk between 11 and 30 TBC and 0.45p/l for TBC of 10 and under.

However, the main change is to the hybrid payment model used to calculate prices paid to most local suppliers. From 1 January, 75% of the milk price is based on the A+B-C model, with the remaining 25% using a conventional system, up from a 50:50 split last year. A small number of suppliers chose to remain on the old, existing payment model, although all Tirlán’s milk will be paid using the A+B-C option from 2025.

When calculating the conventional price, the butterfat increment has increased from 0.049p to 0.054p/l, with protein moving up from 0.027p to 0.03p/l. Base levels for both constituents have remained unchanged at 3.88% and 3.23% respectively.

Milk quality

The milk league is based on an NI dairy farm producing 750,000l annually. For January, milk quality is set at 4.22% butterfat, 3.30% protein, 4.76% lactose, 17 TBC and 175 SCC, which are the values recorded by DAERA in the same month last year.

Winter bonuses

Winter bonus payments have a big bearing on the January league, as some processors pay a premium while others do not.

Strathroy gains four places to finish second on 36.19p/l, with a 1.5p/l increase to base and 1p/l winter bonus putting suppliers on a starting price of 34.5p/l.

Aurivo moves up one spot to third on 36.13p/l, having raised its base by 1p in addition to a 2p/l winter bonus.

None of the processors in the bottom half of the table pay a winter bonus for January. Dale Farm has slipped two places to fourth. Leprino Foods is fifth, with Lakeland dropping three places to finish bottom.

12-month rolling average

In the analysis of rolling prices over the last 12 months, Dale Farm has overtaken Strathroy to lead, helped in part by a strong performance during the second half of 2023. There was also a 2.6p/l gap between both processors in January 2023, which has dropped out of the dataset. While Strathroy is now second, it is just 0.01p/l behind Dale Farm. Tirlán is in third, having narrowed the gap to the top two positions. Aurivo has consolidated its position in fourth, with a 13th payment of 0.21p/l on all litres supplied from July to December, included in the analysis.


Shown in Figure 1 is an estimate of the pay-out made to a 750,000l producer in January based on the actual butterfat and protein recorded by each processor that month. The Aurivo calculation does not include the 13th payment that came with the January cheque.

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