Ornua posted a near doubling of its pre-tax profit and and a one-third increase in operational profit for its 2017 financial year.

“We are very clear that farmers have contributed significantly to this very strong performance by our main exporter," said IFA dairy chairman Tom Phelan.

Ornua announced Wednesday that it would pay a €15m dividend to its member co-ops, up from €9.5m for 2016. This is in addition to access to syndicated bank credit negotiated last year.

"We urge co-ops to use the bonuses we understand they will be paid in April to support farmers through a the more challenging year ahead, after a long cold winter and late, snowy and icy spring have taken their toll,” Phelan said.

Read a full analysis of Ornua's annual results in the Irish Farmers Journal on Thursday.

Read more

Milk cheques slashed by millions