Irish grasslands researcher Dr Phil Creighton is leading a project looking at new grass species to improve ewe performance and speed the growth rate of lambs.
In its 2016 operational review Ornua says turnover rose 9.1% to $2.39 billion and gross profit jumped 18% to $69 million. Ornua closed the year with net cash of $90m versus net debt of $27m in 2015.
Its balance sheet shows net assets of $800m, allowing flexibility to fund future growth and help its members with working capital.
Ornua chief executive Kevin Lane referred to “excellent performances in established markets such as Germany and the US, and more expansion in the developing markets of Africa, China and the Middle East”. This was despite market volatility and political uncertainty.
“We have built a diverse global business by investing in our brands, technology, in-market presence and our people.
“[So we] continue to deliver for our members and for the Irish dairy industry, even in more uncertain market conditions.”
Irish product purchases rose 7% year-on-year, outstripping the rise in Irish milk supply of 4%. Over the last four years, Irish purchases have grown 33%.
A members’ bonus of $23m included some of a windfall from selling DPI Specialty Foods for $8m (in addition to a DPI-related bonus of $24m previously paid in 2016).
In May 2016 Ornua suspended the monthly Ornua milk levy in recognition of the hit Irish dairy farmers had taken from the global dairy downturn.
The co-op’s Kerrygold had record annual global retail sales of $1.4b. Ornua aims to move Kerrygold from being a world-class butter brand to an instantly recognisable $1.6b global dairy brand.
In 2016 it launched Kerrygold Yogurts in Germany, Kerrygold Spreadable in UK and continued rolling out its Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur in Europe and the US.
Ornua trades in 110 countries.
Record Kerrygold global retail sales of $1.4b including 20% volume growth in the US
Kerrygold Yogurts launched in Germany; 10m pots sold in first six months
Opening of Kerrygold Park, a 50,000t butter production and packing plant in Co. Cork
Commissioning and opening of Al Wazeen, Ornua Saudi Arabia’s cheese plant in Riyadh
Integration of Shanghai dairy manufacturer Ambrosia Dairy into Ornua Asia
Acquisition and integration of US powder ingredients business CoreFX Ingredients.