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Dublin: 0 °C Wednesday 21 March, 2018

Milk crisis? Storm Emma stopped the collection of fresh stock from many dairy farms

Many farmers have exhausted their backup space for the milk collected, with possible knock on effects for the availability of milk on supermarket shelves.

shutterstock_484808293 Source: Shutterstock/Michael Tatman

THE LATEST CRISIS attributable to the marriage from hell that was Storm Emma and the Beast from the East is an apparent dairy crisis.

Many farms across the country have been unable to get their product out due to the bad weather and heavy snowfall, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar stressing the problem as being a “particular challenge” during the latest briefing of the National Emergency Coordination Group (NECG) this afternoon.

The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) has written to the (NECG) regarding the situation, calling for the focused clearing of roads leading to dairy farms.

“The IFA is asking that local authorities would co-ordinate their actions with co-ops to prioritise the clearing of roads leading to dairy farms,” president Joe Healy said this afternoon.

The issue has been acknowledged by Glanbia Ireland, which has offered to pay farmers €0.20 for every litre of milk that cannot be collected due to difficulties arising from the extreme weather conditions.

Healy stressed that many farms in local co-ops’ catchment areas have had their milk collections suspended.

“Most dairy farmers have static refrigerated milk storage tanks that can hold up to two days’ worth of milk. Already, some farmers have filled these and they will have to dispose of milk if it is not collected urgently,” Healy said.

If it continues it could also affect the availability of fresh milk on supermarket shelves.

Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesman Jackie Cahill urged the government to take action, adding that the problem was in evidence on his own dairy farm outside Thurles.

Dairy farmers have been storing their milk but with no collections, there is simply no capacity left in most farms.

“On my own farm, we haven’t had a collection since Wednesday,” he said this afternoon.

I’m at full capacity right now – every drop that’s milked from now on will have to be simply poured down the drains.

“Unless access to dairy farms is restored, the Irish dairy industry will lose significant volumes of milk and income for farmers,” he said in a call for the Department of Agriculture and the NECG to prioritise the re-opening of roads to dairy farms. has contacted the Department of Agriculture for comment.

Read: ‘Stay away from rivers’ – the worst is over, but the fallout from Emma and the Beast continues

Read: Schools are to reopen on Monday – where possible

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