The fully imputed dividend, worth $14.2 million, will be paid on 21 January 2022 with the share register closing at 5pm on Friday 7 January 2022 to determine entitlements.

Chairman Murray King said the special dividend, the first for LIC, is to partially distribute funds from the divestment of its automation business in June.

“The divestment of the automation business was in line with LIC’s refined strategy, allowing the co-op to sharpen its focus on delivering world-leading pasture based dairy genetics and herd management for our farmers.

“Importantly it has allowed us to focus on delivering more value on-farm. The Board has carefully considered how best to do this with the sale funds - to balance the needs of our shareholders with the needs of the co-operative and ongoing investment into R&D and technology in areas that will continue to deliver value for them.

“The Board has agreed the best way to achieve this balance is to return part of the proceeds from the sale to our farmers as a special dividend, and re-invest the balance into the business.

“This reinvestment will provide an additional boost to R&D projects and help us deliver on the commitments we have made to our shareholders with software reliability and performance, operational excellence and faster genetic improvement.”

King said the co-op had held the proceeds from divestment through its peak spring business period to offset any potential impacts of Covid-19, however a strong season meant it wasn’t required.

The special dividend is in addition to the $17.8million (12.51 cents per share) returned to LIC shareholders in August with the co-op’s annual result announcement.