Dairy giant Dale Farm has reported its highest ever turnover and profit, but warned the business was facing “unprecedented market inflation”.
Dale Farm is owned by more than 1,300 dairy farmers who supply the cooperative with milk.
The business owns some of our most famous consumer brands, including Dromona butter, Spelga yoghurt and Mullin’s ice-cream.
In the financial year ending March 2022, the average amount of milk produced per farm increased by almost 4%.
Overall group turnover at the cooperative was £591m, up from £524m.
Group operating profit was reported at £25.6m, up from £14m.
Net profit before tax was £22.1m — more than three times the previous year’s level of £8.2m.
Dale Farm said it had also been paying its farmers the highest-ever price for milk at 33.88p per litre, up nearly 6p on the year before.
Group chief executive Nick Whelan said: “I am pleased to see this strong performance by our cooperative and the talented people within it.
“Our focus is ensuring that our business is as efficient and profitable as possible so that we can pay the most competitive milk price, whilst also building a stable future for Dale Farm and the farmers who own our cooperative.
“In recent years turnover has grown by 60% and profits have almost tripled.
“Achieving that means constantly adapting to change and taking difficult decisions, reviewing those areas that can no longer deliver for us, and investing strongly in those that do.
“This year’s results are evidence that this approach is working.”
But he said challenging business conditions meant adapting to change and taking difficult decisions was more important than ever.
Mr Whelan added: “The current level of unprecedented cost inflation will require focused management.
“At the same time, we need to proactively ensure we have a suitable asset replacement programme in place that maintains and builds processing capacity for future growth.”
The agriculture sector has been badly hit by rising prices of raw materials such as fertiliser.
The price of grain and wheat has also been affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Together, they export more than a quarter of the world’s wheat.