By Dan Walsh
The value of dairy farming to the rural economy in Wexford and elsewhere is highlighted in new figures from Glanbia Ireland which show the company paid a total of €136 million for milk in the county last year.
Glanbia Ireland has 672 farm families supplying milk in Co Wexford. The company delivered a solid performance in 2020 despite the global disruption caused by Covid-19.
Revenue for 2020 stood at €1.9 billion, down 2.9%. Of this, a 2.1% drop was caused by volume decline with the balance due to modest price deflation over the period. The company reported profit after tax of €61 million.
There was a sales decline in the Agribusiness part of the business because of very favourable weather conditions, leading to good grass growth and a consequent reduction in demand for both feed and fertiliser.
The domestic food service element of the Consumer business was significantly affected by the three lockdowns during much of 2020 but was cushioned by higher retail demand.
The milk price paid by the Group for the year was an average of 35 cent per litre, inclusive of VAT.
Commenting, Glanbia Ireland CEO, Jim Bergin, said: “Covid-19 significantly added to our operational challenges in 2020 but the speed at which the management team acted and adapted to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all was exemplary. Keeping milk on the shelves throughout the past year has been exceptionally challenging and tremendous credit goes to everyone who played their part.
“Milk volumes in 2020 increased by 4.9% on a like-for-like basis and the Group paid over €1.083 billion to milk suppliers, an increase of 3.8% on 2019. This represents a significant source of income for farm families, for our rural and regional economies and highlights the impact of dairy farming on villages and towns throughout rural Ireland where our suppliers live, work and spend their farm income,” concluded Mr Bergin.