Lakeland Dairies moves to support solids-based payments in Northern Ireland

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Lakeland Dairies, Northern Ireland’s (NI) largest dairy co-operative, has announced the rollout of a new milk price payment model for its farm family suppliers in NI.

The move by Lakeland Dairies is the latest evolution of the milk price model in Northern Ireland by the co-op to support and encourage the continued production of high milk solids.

Following consultation and analysis over many months, the Board of Lakeland Dairies agreed on a new payment model for NI farmers that does three things:

1. Reward higher milk solids.

Lakeland Dairies, Northern Ireland’s (NI) largest dairy co-operative, has announced the rollout of a new milk price payment model for its farm family suppliers in NI. (Pic: stock image)Lakeland Dairies, Northern Ireland’s (NI) largest dairy co-operative, has announced the rollout of a new milk price payment model for its farm family suppliers in NI. (Pic: stock image)
Lakeland Dairies, Northern Ireland’s (NI) largest dairy co-operative, has announced the rollout of a new milk price payment model for its farm family suppliers in NI. (Pic: stock image)

2. Protect and maintain volume and quality bonuses.

3. Reward farmers supplying out-of-season milk.

Between 1st July 2024 and 1st January 2026, Lakeland Dairies will move, in a phased and consistent manner, towards an A+B-C method of paying for milk which is aimed at rewarding higher milk solids.

Alongside that, Lakeland Dairies is extending its out-of-season payment period from two months to four months. As well as receiving 3p/l in November and December, the 3p/l payment will continue for January and February to support NI seasonality patterns.

Commenting on the changes, Lakeland Dairies Chairperson Niall Matthews said: “The model for milk purchasing in Northern Ireland has been evolving over time. In recent times, changes have been made to solids payments, volume bonuses, out-of-season payments and quality payments.

“These changes have always been made in the best interests of our loyal milk suppliers in Northern Ireland to help maximise the return to them.

“We are giving a long lead-in time for farmers to familiarise themselves with the changes and work towards making small tweaks to their herd in order to maximise payments. We do not envisage that sweeping changes will have to be made to herds in NI as many farmers have been on this journey for a number of years.

“The aim of these changes is simple. We are committed to supporting our farmers in NI for the long-term.”

Keith Agnew, Lakeland Dairies Vice Chairperson said:

“As a Board, we are proud to bring forward these changes to support and encourage higher-solids milk production. With the extension of the out-of-season payment, we are also clearly recognising the seasonality patterns in NI. We want to support this supply profile in NI and we are clearly backing our farmers to do so.

“We firmly believe that these changes will help deliver greater levels of financial sustainability for our farmers while also encouraging greater levels of efficiency both inside the factory and farming gates.”

Lakeland Dairies will host specific information clinics for suppliers over the course of May and June to support farmers with the changes.