Tirlán, Dairygold, Tipperary and Aurivo all have unconditional January bonuses which have helped cushion the 6c/l cut in base milk price that some of the big players introduced for January.

Kerry milk suppliers received the deepest cut as base price dropped 6c/l, and the 1c/l “contract commitment” bonus that was there in December, is not there on January milk. It means they drop like a stone to the bottom of the January milk league.

We need to keep January in context.

Remember, just over 2% of the annual supply is delivered in January, so it’s not a game-changing month for milk suppliers in terms of annual returns.

Plenty of spring producers supply no milk in January. However, call a spade a spade, never before have we seen such drastic cuts to base price in one month.

Base price is now averaging €7.13/kg MS (50.9c/l excluding VAT). A combination of a stable supply side, demand easing and European pricing at a premium, the market experienced a significant correction between September and January.

However, after this period of reduced buying activity, it seems interest and market sentiment has improved in early February with most dairy commodities stabilising since then.

Cumulative column

We start afresh in the cumulative January column in the main table this month to capture a rolling milk cheque for a typical spring milk supply pattern, based on national milk solids.

In February we will include the February milk cheque on top of the January milk cheque in this column.

We will return to discuss this column from last year (2022) when all the additional year end bonuses for 2022 have been included after March board meetings.