BY CON DOWNING
BARRYROE Co-Op led the way again nationally on milk prices for the past year, closely followed by the other three West Cork Co-Ops who supply the Carbery Group.
This is the fourth consecutive year that Barryroe has topped the annual milk price review carried out by the Irish Farmers Journal and KPMG Accountants, based at Cork’s South Mall. The price they paid in 2015 was 31.21 cent per litre after excluding levies and collection charges, almost 2c/litre ahead of the average price paid across the board for milk purchased for and used in manufacturing.
Lisavaird, Bandon and Drinagh Co-Ops occupied the next three places on the league table with prices of 30.92, 30.41 and 30.27c/litre, respectively. They were followed by big name processors such as Glanbia, Tipperary, Daiyrgold and Kerry.
The average price per litre for milk paid during the last calendar year was 29.26c, dropping sharply from 36.31c paid in 2014 and 37.76 the year before that. The 2015 price is marginally less than the average figure of 30.81 back in 2012 before milk prices increased hugely in the following two years.
Analysing the figures, Dr Jack Kennedy, dairy editor of the Irish Farmers Journal, stated that ‘the record will show 2015 as an average year for milk price despite dairy commodity prices crashing towards the back end of the year. Most farmers had the majority of 2015 milk supplied before milk prices started to drop.’
As regards the price per kilo paid for milk solids, the four West Cork co-ops supplying Carbery win out again in the same order on the table, led by Barryroe paying €4.05, Lisavaird €3.99, Bandon €3.96 and Drinagh €3.91 in the calculations made for the milk price review.
Barryroe chief executive Peadar Murphy told The Southern Star this week: ‘We are delighted to be able to give a leading price to all our milk suppliers in a time when market conditions are very difficult.
‘Credit for this is due in no small way to our milk suppliers who consistently supply high-quality milk. This is collected and delivered in a very efficient manner to Carbery Milk Products, our processing plant, which is owned by the four West Cork co-ops.
Peadar added that: ‘Great credit is also due to the management team in Carbery that has allowed all the West Cork co-ops to continually deliver the leading milk price in the country every year.’
He said that Barryroe Co-op has also diversified into other businesses over the years, such as pork processing and property business, ‘and these have being very successful in helping to give top prices to our milk suppliers and all other shareholders.’
Dan MacSweeney, CEO of the Carbery Group, commented: ‘It is good to see that the four West Cork co-ops are at the top of the milk league for 2015. These are challenging times for our milk suppliers with weak milk prices.
‘They have just gone through a difficult spring and significant cost has been incurred on milk expansion and meeting higher consumer standards. It is the practice of the industry in West Cork, through Carbery and the four co-ops, to support our suppliers as much as we can.’