The Irish Farmers Journal webinar on Tuesday last week highlighted the Glanbia position on new peak rules as articulated by Glanbia chair John Murphy and director of strategy Sean Molloy.
They assured listeners and watchers that they remain ambitious for growth in the company and that this latest peak management proposal is just a temporary three-year situation.
Like other milk processors that have been developing additional capacity, they have been faced with unexpectedly long delays in the planning process.
Also, the significant cost of processing equipment means they can’t have too much capacity idle for any long period of time.
Already, they have a dryer that is only processing for 12 weeks of the year.
John Murphy suggested that talk of a plan B is disingenuous and is not helpful.
Teagasc dairy specialist Joe Patton outlined the problem with shifting calving patterns and suggested shifting 20% to 30% of calving into autumn wasn’t going to do enough to fix the Glanbia peak problem.
Joe went as far as to say the only shift that would work in a growth context to try to flatten the peak was a 50:50 calving pattern or an April-to-June period and that either of these calving profiles would lift feed costs up 25% alone or circa €220 per cow.
It would also mean higher labour costs and would be detrimental to the environment.
Glanbia chair John Murphy summarised the discussion towards the end of the webinar by suggesting he acknowledges the pain and frustration some farmers are feeling and that he will bring the suggestions and proposals back to his board.