Lakeland Dairies leads the NI milk league for November, the third occasion it has led our monthly analysis in 2022.

While the co-op maintained a starting price of 47.5p/l, it pays a 3p/l winter bonus on milk delivered last month.

In addition, the Lakeland board has decided to pay 0.5p/l on all litres supplied in 2022, to be issued as a lump sum in January.

This payment has been factored into our November analysis, and once adjustments are also made for milk quality, it means Lakeland finished on 53.15p/l for milk collected on alternate days in November.

Milk quality

The league table is calculated using statistics recorded by DAERA for milk produced in November 2021. During that month, butterfat averaged 4.24%, with protein at 3.39%, lactose of 4.7%, 21 TBC and 194 SCC.

However, milk quality will differ from year to year, and actual butterfat and protein levels provided to us by various processors in November 2022 are higher than the average from 2021.

In the case of Dale Farm, butterfat averaged 4.33% with protein on 3.38%. If we calculated the milk league on these figures, it would add 0.21p/l to the price published for Dale Farm.

Elsewhere, Glanbia Cheese producers averaged 4.27% butterfat and 3.41% protein, which would add 0.24p/l to its price.

Aurivo’s price would be 0.4p/l higher given it collected milk at 4.42% butterfat and 3.37% protein, while Tirlán would see its price rise by 1.1p/l having been supplied with milk at 4.48% butterfat and 3.49% protein.

Lakeland’s price is similar to that published, but our analysis does not allow for additional payments under its scheme to incentivise higher solids milk. According to the co-op, this scheme was worth an additional 0.25p/l to the average supplier in November 2022.

Changing positions

Behind Lakeland in our monthly league, Dale Farm slips one place to second on 51.71p/l, having added 1p/l to its base price, which along with the 2p/l winter bonus put suppliers on a starting price 50.05p/l.

Glanbia Cheese is third, having also increased base price by 1p/l, taking it to 49p/l when its 2p/l winter bonus is added in.

Other processors left base prices unchanged. Tirlán/Fivemiletown sit fourth, having paid from a base of 48.65p/l, which includes a 1.5p/l winter bonus. Strathroy is the only processor below 50p/l.

Rolling average

Tirlán continues to lead our price analysis for milk lifted daily or on alternate days in the 12 months ending November 2022.

On alternate days, it paid an average of 44.04p/l. Lakeland remains in second, but with the figures adjusted to account for the 0.5p/l back payment, it has closed the gap to Tirlán.

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