Big dairy investment
Dairygold co-op has confirmed their plans to handle a forecast 63% growth in milk production by 2020.
The co-op has committed to accepting all milk produced by their members and has put in place a range of measures to help meet the estimated €233m cost of processing 600m litres of extra milk by 2020.
In an interview with the Irish Farmers Journal on Tuesday, Dairygold chief executive Jim Woulfe confirmed that Ireland's largest co-op plans to spend €120 million to add an additional 18.5 million litres weekly capacity up to 2020.
This will involve an upgrade of an existing drying and evaporation facility in Mitchelstown and the development of two new 7.5 tonne/hour dryers in Mallow - one planned for 2015 and the second for 2019.
While planning will be sought this year, the commissioning of the new driers will depend on milk flow and any arrangement with other milk processors.
Dairygold plans to continue to focus on the production of cheese, butter, wholemilk powder and specialised ingredients for the infant formula sector.
By 2020, the co-op estimates that its cheese output would grow to 58,000 tonnes (from 40,000 t currently).
Jim Woulfe signalled that the co-op would continue to sell its cheese and butter through the Irish Dairy Board.
Member surveys have forecast a 63.5% increase in Dairygold milk production from 941 million litres in 2011 to 1,539 million litres by 2020, a growth of circa 600 million litres a year over current milk production volume.
The survey results have been cross checked with ICBF data.
Between now and 2014, Dairygold will invest to increase its peak weekly processing capacity by 4.3 million litres (15%).
This comprises the already completed expansion of its powder facility in Mitchelstown and of its speciality cheese plant at Mogeely, and the expansion of its cheddar and whey plants in Mitchelstown, for which planning approval is already in place.
Mitchelstown's Castle Farm plant also has the benefit of a recently completed €7m anaerobic digester.
Dairygold will submit a planning application in the coming months for the re-development of their Mallow site.
Current plans are for two 7.5 tonne per hour driers.
However, Jim Woulfe told the Irish Farmers Journal that installing one 15 tonne per hour dryer could be considered if the co-op secured additional milk through an agreement with another Irish processor.
Dairygold will also introduce milk forecasting, with suppliers required to provide a rolling 4-year milk volume forecast, commencing in March 2013, with a provision for annual adjustments.