A new presence on the dairy scene

Rebel farmers crate milk off to OmaghDavid Medcalf

Published 25/03/2014 | 05:42

A new presence on the Wexford dairy scene will begin to do business at the start of April when a tanker from Strathroy comes to collect the milk from rebel farmers who have split from Wexford Farmers Producers cooperative.

The 40 dissidents have thrown in their lot with Strathroy, dissatisfied with the way that Wexford Creamery has been sold to agri giant Glanbia.

And they expect to be joined by 40 more farmers in July, despite warnings that they will be thrown out of the coop in the wake of their decision not to supply Glanbia.

Instead of being processed at the creamery cheese factory at Rocklands, the milk from the rebel milking parlours will soon be on its way to Omagh in Northern Ireland. Strathroy, which supplies Aldi and other supermarket chains, has already conducted a dry run on the route. Local contractor James Whitty from Taghmon has been hired to collect the milk and transport it to the Ulster enterprise

'It's a business decision,' stressed one farmer who has made the switch in spite of family links stretching back more than half a century. She felt the Strathroy deal more attractive than the Glanbia terms. With Glanbia now taking the vast majority of milk from the county, the €20 million Rocklands deal is under the Competition Authority microscope. Their verdict on whether the sale of the creamery should be unravelled is due to be made public at the beginning of June. 'The whole dairy industry is completely changed,' commented one producer as processors and farmers await the imminent lifting of the EU quota system.

It is reported Strathroy's new Wexford suppliers have been fielding enquiries from their counterparts in Tipperary, Kilkenny, Laois, Dublin and Wicklow who are giving consideration to following suit.

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