With Lakeland Dairies paying from the highest base price in December, it is no surprise that the co-op leads our monthly analysis for a dairy farmer producing 1m litres annually as shown in Table B.

Across all processors, base milk prices averaged 49.03p/l for December, an increase of 16p/l on the corresponding price recorded in December 2021. The prices published are calculated across three different levels of butterfat and protein, which are outlined in Table 1 on the opposite page.

On high solids milk, prices across all processors averaged 52.45p/l for December, up 0.15p/l from the previous month.

Lakeland leads on 54.08p/l and included within this price is its 0.5p/l back payment, which applies to all litres in 2022.

Tirlán finishes in second, a gain of two places, thanks mainly to its 0.85p/l top-up payment on every litre supplied last year.

This means Dale Farm slips one spot to third with Glanbia Cheese dropping to fourth, while Aurivo and Strathroy are unchanged.

Average milk solids

For milk with average solids, prices averaged 51.77p/l across the board, up 0.15p/l on the previous month.

Lakeland Dairies stays on top for December, paying 53.33p/l with Tirlán again climbing two places to second.

Twelve-month rolling average

Table C outlines the 12 month rolling milk prices for each processor from January to December 2022 based on alternate-day collection.

With base prices rising in 10 out of 12 months last year, the rolling average prices continue to increase month on month.

Tirlán leads our analysis for high solids milk on 47.29p/l, up 2p/l from the previous milk league.

The 0.85p/l top-up payment for 2022 has been factored into the data.

Lakeland finishes with the second highest price of 46.06p/l, while Dale Farm holds on to third.

Moving to average solids milk, Tirlán has consolidated its position in the lead, with the gap to Lakeland in second widening to 1.15p/l, compared to 0.46p/l last month. The spread in prices across all processors is now nearly 3p/l, which compares to under 1p/l in our analysis of 2021 prices.