Arrabawn co-op, headquartered in Co. Tipperary, has announced that it will reduce its milk price for March due to weaker global dairy market conditions. The co-op’s board has decided to reduce the price by 4c/L to 44.19c/L inclusive of VAT at 3.6% fat and 3.3% protein. However, in a statement, the co-op affirmed its commitment to “continue to pay the highest possible price that market conditions will allow” and announced a 4c/L support for the processor’s fixed milk-price schemes for March. This applies to the total volume of milk in fixed milk-price schemes.
Arrabawn has also announced changes to its winter bonus scheme for winter 2023/2024. The winter bonus will be paid to suppliers for December 2023, and January and February of 2024. The winter bonus criteria will be: 2c/L December 2023; 4c/L January 2024; 3c/L February 2024. The co-op stated that the winter bonus is exclusive to all manufacturing suppliers who meet the manufacturing milk quality parameters.
Arrabawn is scheduled to hold its annual general meeting (AGM) this week in Nenagh on Wednesday (April 19). The AGM will be followed by a special general meeting where its board will put forward a number of motions on rule changes. These will include a restructure of the representative committee to accommodate seats for the east and south branches in district one, a reduction in the number of supplier members on the board from 18 to 14, an introduction of maximum term time for board members, scope to increase the number of independent directors on the co-op’s board from one to two, and the introduction of a minimum trading threshold for board and representative committee members. According to the chair of the co-op, Edward Carr, “these motions are very important for the future and ongoing progression” of the co-op.
Arrabawn is the third organisation this month to cut milk prices for March. Lakeland was the first to announce a price drop for March of 4c/L to 42.85c/L inclusive of VAT at 3.6% fat and 3.3% protein. Kerry Group also announced that it will pay suppliers a base milk price of 40c/L, including VAT, for milk at 3.3% protein and 3.6% butterfat. This marks a drop of 4c/L by the processor. The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) had warned that margins for dairy farmers will “be completely wiped out” if there is a further round of price cuts for March milk. However, Lakeland Dairies CEO, Colin Kelly, told Agriland last week that milk price in the short-term is likely to contract even further in the months ahead as markets continue to determine returns. “The market today is lower than where, ultimately, the milk price is, so unfortunately a contraction looks inevitable in the short-term,” Kelly said.