Strathroy Dairy has climbed one place to finish on top of the NI milk league for June, paying 33.7p/l for milk collected on alternate days.

It is the third time this year that Strathroy has led our monthly analysis, having finished first in the January and February league tables.

Helping the Omagh-based processor reclaim poll position was its decision to hold on a base of 33p/l for milk supplied last month.

Milk quality

The June milk league is calculated at 4.01% butterfat, 3.24% protein, 4.73% lactose, 28 TBC and 207 SCC, which are the figures recorded by DAERA for the same month in 2022.

As typically happens each year, butterfat and protein levels trend downwards during summer months, while cell counts are rising.

Overall, it means premiums for milk quality are typically worth 0.5p/l in the June league, whereas back in January, the same bonus payments added an extra 1.3p/l on top of base price.

Chasing pack

Behind Strathroy, Dale Farm also climbs one place to finish second, despite a 0.5p/l price cut. Once deductions are made for milk collection, the co-op finishes with a price of 32.83p/l.

Aurivo moves up one place to third, helped by the west of Ireland based co-op’s decision to hold its base price at 31.5p/l.

The biggest mover in the June league is Tirlán, which slips three places to fourth, following a 1.75p/l price cut that put suppliers on a base to 31p/l.

Glanbia Cheese edges out Lakeland Dairies for fifth, thanks to its 0.5p/l sustainability payment. The Lakeland price does not include its five-year scheme to incentivise higher milk solids, where suppliers can choose a base year (2018; 2019 or 2020) and get paid a higher increment where current butterfat and protein percentages are over this base.

As an example, if we used the NI average in 2018 as the base year, the higher milk solids in our current calculations would effectively add 0.25p/l to the Lakeland price.

Rolling average

For the 12-month period ending June 2023, Tirlán continues to lead our analysis, ahead of Dale Farm in second.

Having topped the league three times in 2023, Strathroy moves up to third with Lakeland slipping to fourth.

Co-op averages

As the milk league is calculated on a standard litre using DAERA milk solids for the same month in the previous year, these figures differ from the fat and protein values recorded in June 2023.

Where processors have provided us with their actual June butterfat and protein figures, Figure 1 (above) estimates the monthly payout to a 750,000-litre farmer supplying 8.9% of their annual yield last month.

Strathroy has the highest monthly cheque at £22,579, with Glanbia Cheese trailing at the opposite end on £20,485. The estimated milk sales for a Lakeland supplier include the top up payments made under its milk solids enhancement scheme.

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