Half of Ireland’s milk is collected between April and July. Photo: Thomas Hubert

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Can Ireland’s dairy industry weather the pandemic?

Butter prices are down, farmers are getting less for their milk and cheese stocks are going into cold stores. But unlike other sectors, Ireland’s dairy industry is working as one and its businesses entered the crisis with strong balance sheets.

18th May, 2020 - 10 min read
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A good part of the traffic I’m meeting in my 5km freedom zone on the Meath/Cavan border these days is made up of milk lorries. As they do every year, Irish cows leave the sheds after spring calving and pump milk from the surge of grass shooting out of the soil into the summer. They produce around 1 billion litres for each of April, May, June and July, pushing the country’s processing infrastructure to full capacity. These four months account for around half of Irish milk supply.

Although the recent cold, dry weather is not ideal, production continues to grow year on year. In the first quarter, it was 3.6 per cent higher than in 2019.

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