Limerick company selling colostrum to Germany looking for more farmer suppliers

A Co Limerick company is shipping colostrum to Germany for use in feed, sports drinks and beauty products, and is currently recruiting more dairy farmers to help meet demand.

aul Dillon from CalfPens.iealong with his brother-in-law Pat O’Boyle, have paved the way for colostrum to enter this new market through a pilot project they ran in spring 2022.

“I saw other dairy farmers in Europe were supplying Germany with their colostrum and getting paid for it. I thought to myself, ‘That’s something we could be doing here too,'” Paul told the Independent Farming. They are supplying German processor ISR, a subsidiary of Biochem based in Lohne in northwest Germany.

“I contacted ISR and from there we set out to enroll 20 farmers to supply us in spring 2022 as a
pilot project.”

Demand to supply was so great that Paul and Pat’s new company, Biocolo, had over 60 suppliers by the end of the first season.

Suppliers received between €1.50/L and €2/L for colostrum, depending on its quality. This quality is established on farms using a refractometer.

Colostrum over 25g/100ml demanded the highest price, while colostrum supplied between 20-25g/100ml received over €1.50/L. The average price paid by Biocolo in 2022 was €1.75/L.

“We provide farmers with the buckets, chest freezer and refractometer. We then collect from the farm when the freezer is full,” Paul said.

“In 2022, we supplied 25,000L of colostrum to Germany and they told us they could take 20 times that next year. We will be at this year’s National Plowing Championships recruiting more farmers for spring 2023. It’s the best milk price in the world and we’re optimistic we can expand greatly going forward.”

Cork dairy farmer Peter Hynes supplied over 200L of colostrum to Biocolo in 2022. “The Department came out and inspected our set-up after we started supplying and they were happy with our process,” Peter said.

“We use our mini milking machine and the older cows especially will produce a pile of colostrum.

“It’s great to get further value from the colostrum produced here. We still have to give calves priority but we produce a surplus every year. We are wasting it feeding it to beef calves and oftentimes some of it gets thrown away.”

Martin Hapke, chief operating officer at ISR, said the quality of raw material coming from Ireland is very high. “Currently, we cannot produce our products fast enough to meet demand.

“Between 60-70pc of our colostrum intake goes into the feed market, and the rest into sports nutrition and beauty care,” he said.

“Our products range in value from €40-€200/kg depending on the quantity and quality of the colostrum.

“I’m optimistic the number of Irish farmers who choose to supply us with colostrum will expand. We currently have over 2,000 farm suppliers across Europe.”

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