Great to see Dairygold Co-op doing well again, with operating profits up near €20m.

IT is great to see Dairygold Co-op doing well again, with operating profits up near €20m.

However, they are fairly heavily in debt.

Like most other co-ops, they are planning for an almost 50% increase in milk production after 2015, but will not have plans to accommodate processing of the extra milk finalised until midway in 2012.

CEO Jim Woulfe says they have an open mind on processing facilities.

They are prepared to co-operate with others or go it alone.

He predicts the 2012 milk price at between the 2011 price (33.6 cent per litre) and the five-year average of 30.4 cent.

The co-op is undertaking extensive surveys of farmers’ intentions regarding milk expansion, and the likely supply from new entrants.

Dairygold milk quality has traditionally been excellent, facilitating manufacture of high-quality products, and success in attracting international baby food manufacturers, Danone. The average somatic cell count (SCC) in Dairygold Co-op in 2011 was 235,000 which is very satisfactory. The co-op operates a quality scoresheet enabling farmers with high quality milk to gain significant bonuses.

The proportion of suppliers qualifying for bonus payments has increased from 85% in 2009 to 91% in 2011.

The co-op has always been to the forefront in reducing SCC and improving other quality aspects of their milk supply.

In addition to their own milk quality advisers, they employed two Teagasc advisory experts on milking machines and milk quality early in the last decade.

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