Upturn in GDT auction welcome

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Two positive Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction results have managed to put a floor back under international milk markets, according to Lakeland Dairies’ CEO Michael Hanley.

“But there remains a total disconnect between what’s happening here in Europe, where prices are still falling, and the rest of the world,” he said.

“However, if the GDT was to deliver a series of positive results over the coming couple of months, this would send out a positive signal to the dairy markets as a whole.”

Hanley was speaking at this week’s official opening of the co-op’s new global logistics’ centre in Newtownards.

He confirmed that Lakeland will pay a 3 pence per litre bonus to its dairy farmers for milk supplied during the months of November and December.

“As a co-op we remain dedicated to delivering the best possible price to our farmer suppliers,” said Mr Hanley.

“And I regard the investment undertaken at Newtownards as firm evidence of our commitment to this principle.”

Hanley sees the recent joint ventures agreed between Lakeland and Fane Valley as a further signal to this effect.

“Success in today’s increasingly competitive dairy processing sector is all about delivering efficiencies of scale and optimising product quality. The new dairy joint venture with Fane Valley will allow us achieve this core objective,” he said.

“The new business will have access to an annual milk pool in excess of 1bn litres. The reality is that we cannot keep up with demand from customers at the present time. There is a commercial market for every drop of milk that we process. And, I am totally confident that we can grow the business further during the period ahead.

“World dairy markets will turn. And we may be seeing the start of this process already. There is a bright future for dairy farming in Northern Ireland. And this must be based on a scenario which sees farmers getting a realistic return for the milk they produce.”