Northern Irish dairy co-op Dale Farm has reported a pre-tax profit increase of just under 20% in the 12 months to March 2019, it has been reported.
According to the Irish Times, the group earned €13.3 million during the year, despite the “big distraction of Brexit”.
The group, which is made up of more than 1,300 dairy farmers across the North, England and Scotland, also grew its turnover by 5.6% to £509 million.
Nick Whelan, CEO of Dale Farms, revealed that the co-op has been trying to manage the ‘inherent volatility in the sector’.
“Volatility is a big issue in the dairy sector - both in terms of the supply chain and at the farm level - it’s massive, and in the last three to four years we have worked very hard to support our farmer-owners,” Whelan said.
“We’ve strengthened our balance sheet, and we paid the leading milk price as per the 12-month rolling milk price league in Northern Ireland throughout this past financial year.”
Whelan added that the results were “hugely positive” with the impending arrival of Brexit.
“I’ve been very vocal that I believe a no-deal Brexit is a disaster, not just for the agriculture sector in Northern Ireland but for Ireland and the whole of the UK,” he explained.
“My challenge over the last year has been to convince some farmers that Brexit is not good for you – half of our members get it, half don’t.”
Whelan said that it would be very hard to plan for a no-deal, but backed the number of opportunities for growth that are still present.
He said the co-op is somewhat protected by the growing consumer demand to be more connected with the supply chain and to know exactly where the product is coming from.
“That is great for us,” he said.
© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.