PPI holds steady as further SMP stocks cleared
The Ornua PPI has remained steady this month while the European Commission has further emptied intervention stocks with all Irish powder now sold.

The Ornua Purchase Price Index (PPI) has remained almost unchanged into the first month of 2019, moving up marginally by 0.1 to 107.6.

This equivalent to a farmgate price of 30.6c/l (excl VAT and assuming 6.5c/l processing costs).

Intervention sale

Meanwhile, the European Commission has further emptied skim milk powder (SMP) intervention stores with 584t sold in the latest tender.

This leaves just half a percent of peak intervention stock in store, with the vast amount of that now in Spain. All Irish SMP intervention stocks have been cleared.

The minimum price secured at the tender also increased up from €1,585/t last month to €1,622/t which reflects a recovering global dairy protein markets.

Conor Mulvihill, director of Dairy Industry Ireland (DII) welcomed the clearance of intervention stock by the EU in an orderly manner.

He said that the almost 400,000t of stock had served as an albatross around the neck of the global dairy protein market.

However, Mulvihill warned that despite the optimism, current intervention disposal prices only equated to a milk equivalent price of under 20c/litre.

This, he said, meant the market had some way to go in terms of delivering proper returns for Irish farmers and industry.

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In this video, Jack Kennedy and Journal vet Tommy Heffernan outline the correct procedure when calving a dairy cow in a normal delivery.

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Carbery to invest €78m in mozzarella plant
Carbery received €5.75m in state aid from the Irish Government for this project, following approval by the European Commission.

West Cork dairy processor Carbery is to invest €78m in the diversification of its Ballineen processing facility. The investment will allow Carbery to move into processing new cheese offerings, primarily mozzarella.

Carbery received some €5.57m in state aid funding from the Irish Government build the new facility, following approval by the European Commission. Carbery expect construction of the project to be completed by 2020.

The West Cork processor currently produces cheddar cheese at the Ballineen site, primarily for the UK market. With 1,260 farmers supplying Carbery, who provide 500 jobs in west Cork, the investment is to diversify production and reduce dependence on the UK.

The investment by Carbery will increase processing capacity at the Ballineen plant to 4m litres of milk per day, making the site one of the largest diversified cheese manufacturing sites in Europe.

Global demand

Mozzarella cheese is a higher added-value product for which there is a growing global demand. Diversification away from cheddar cheese will allow Carbery to reach a wider range of customers in the global market.

The €5.75m in state aid will be paid in instalments between 2019 and 2021.

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€500,000 in grant funding announced for milk pumps
Minister for Environment Richard Bruton said newer milk pumps could save the average farmer €1,440 in energy bills.

Some €500,000 is to be made available to dairy farmers for the installation of high-efficiency milk pumps. The grant will cover up to 40% of the total technology and installation costs.

Announcing the funding, Minister for Communication, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton said the pumps could save the average farmer €1,440 in energy bills. There is also the potential to reduce carbon emissions by 1.6 tonnes annually.

The scheme will be administered through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The technologies covered under the scheme include variable speed drive (VSD) vacuum pumps and VSD milk pumps.

According to Jim Gannon, SEAI CEO, VSD vacuum pumps can reduce energy consumption by 60% resulting in savings of over 10% on total farm energy costs.

Minister Bruton said: “It is vital that every sector of our economy seek ways to reduce their carbon impact. This is a great opportunity for dairy farmers to become more efficient and save money. It is one of the many practices in a farm where new ways of working can make a significant impact.”

Farmer thoughts

Pat Walton, dairy farmer from Ballingarry Co Tipperary, has installed a new vacuum pump and said the new system was quieter and cheaper to run.

He said: “It is an investment at the start, but over four or five years it will have paid for itself and after that it is saving you a lot of money. It is worth doing for the savings.”

He encouraged other dairy farmers to think about installing a new vacuum pump.

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed also encouraged farmers to avail of the scheme: “Not only does this dairy equipment make climate sense but also sound economic sense at individual farm level and I urge farmers to engage fully with the scheme.”

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