Fifty Wex­ford sup­pli­ers to take 15m litres in move to Strathroy

Irish Independent - Farming - - News - De­clan O'Brien

FIFTY sup­pli­ers and more than 15m litres of milk look likely to shift from Wex­ford Cream­ery to North­ern Ir­ish milk pro­ces­sor Strathroy dur­ing the first half of this year.

Ruairi Cunningham of Strathroy said 50 farm­ers have al­ready given no­tice to Wex­ford Milk Pro­duc­ers (WMP) – the co-op that owns a con­trol­ling stake in Wex­ford Cream­ery – that they in­tend mov­ing their milk sup­ply.

These fig­ures have been con­firmed by Wex­ford Cream­ery. A spokesman said that 40 lodged notices of in­tent to switch pro­ces­sor be­fore the end of De­cem­ber and their milk will move on April 1. A fur­ther 10 sup­pli­ers had given no­tice since Jan­uary 1, their milk will move on July 1.

The sup­pli­ers can re­tract the no­tice at any time up to the des­ig­nated date for mov­ing but Mr Cunningham said he was con­fi­dent this would not oc­cur in the vast ma­jor­ity of cases.

He de­scribed the sup­pli­ers who had ex­pressed an in­ter­est in join­ing Strathroy as “fairly de­ter­mined” and said he would be sur­prised if the en­tire 50 did not move.

“A lot of boys are wait­ing to see how things work out and more will move as the year goes on; we could get 100,” Mr Cunningham pre­dicted.

CLO­SURE

Wex­ford has close to 330 dairy farm­ers and a to­tal milk pool of 103m litres.

One Wex­ford dairy farmer who is con­sid­er­ing switch­ing to Strathroy said farmer dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the terms of the deal which saw WMP sell its con­trol­ling stake in Wex­ford Cream­ery to Glan­bia In­gre­di­ents Ire­land (GIIL) had con­trib­uted to de­ci­sion of many farm­ers to move.

The 10-year milk sup­ply con­tract that was ini­tially sought by GIIL and the fact that WMP would have no rep­re­sen­ta­tion on the Glan­bia board were among the main is­sues of con­tention, he said.

Strathroy are of­fer­ing farm­ers a five-year rolling con­tract, with a three-month no­tice pe­riod re­quired if sup­pli­ers wish to leave.

The GIIL milk sup­ply agree­ment is for a five-year fixed term, with two years no­tice re­quired from those seek­ing to switch pro­ces­sor.

Mr Cunningham said Strathroy would re­quire be­tween one and four milk trucks to col­lect the Wex­ford sup­plies, depend­ing on the time of year.

How­ever, he in­sisted that the com­pany had re­ceived a lot of calls from farm­ers across south Le­in­ster and Mun­ster who were in­ter­ested in talk­ing to Strathroy and he said they would start dis­cus­sions once the Wex­ford sup­ply sit­u­a­tion was “bed­ded down”.

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