Dale Farm is the second biggest processor in Northern Ireland, mainly collecting milk in Co Antrim and Co Down. Led by Wexford’s Nick Whelan, the co-op has published some details on their investments in cheddar cheese.

It has been long talked about in Northern Ireland. Many of the Southern processors would have loved to take on a cheddar investment, similar to Carbery in west Cork, but were pointed in other directions and funded to do other investments, mainly dryers for powders.

Nick makes the point that it’s a consolidation play with some capacity for growth. In addition, Dale Farm has moved to reward the farmer to further flatten the milk curve, and I presume to increase volumes processed on an annual basis.

A better initiative would be to reward farmers correctly now and into the future by paying for milk solids and discounting volume.

Some Dale Farm directors might not like that, but a transition should be achievable if it’s the right thing to do for the co-op and its shareholders.

History and past decisions shouldn’t get in the way of the right decision for a business that will make money on milk solids (fat and protein) not liquid milk (volume).

Completely unrelated, but important to readers in the Republic of Ireland is the report in our NI pages this week that one in five dead badgers are testing positive for TB.

In addition, we know that scientific journals report the sensitivity of the standard TB test for dead or killed badgers at around 55%. This means that 45% are not detected.

With ongoing doubts down South around badger vaccination success, increased funding and yet the highest TB herd incidence ever, it seems TB is going to get worse, north and south, before it gets better.