DMK, the German dairy major, is to close a domestic facility and reduce capacity at three others amid declining milk production volumes.

The co-op’s site in Dargun in north-eastern Germany is to be shuttered, while facilities in Edewecht, Hohenwestedt and Everswinkel are to be scaled down.

Some 150 employees will be impacted by the measures, which are due to be implemented by spring 2025.

DMK, Germany’s largest dairy cooperative, said it had no alternative but to make the changes. It said it mainly produces “standard products” at the affected sites as opposed to higher value lines. That make-up of products, combined with an expected decrease in milk volumes, has led to the “adjustment plans”.

In a statement, DMK said it is “reacting to regionally changing raw material volumes and is also taking aspects of value-adding product range development into account in this planning”.

It added: “The decision was preceded by a renewed, extensive examination of the planned measures by means of an independent expert opinion on behalf of the employee representatives. This, however, did not allow any other conclusions to be drawn regarding the sustainable and economic continuation of the areas in question.”

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DMK said it is aiming to optimise its network of production facilities.

“These capacities are determined by the interplay of three factors: the volume of milk per region as well as demand and capacity at plant level. Depending on these factors, the plant structure and product portfolio must be constantly optimised to achieve the highest possible value for the processed raw milk. This also includes strengthening products with higher added value and reducing those with lower returns,” it said.

The co-op, which has around 7,000 employees, said it will enter into talks with the affected employees to discuss their options.

“The DMK Group thus has a strong interest in retaining good employees and deploying them in other functions,” it said.

Just Food has asked the trade union NGG, which represents workers at the sites, for its reaction to DMK’s announcement.