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Dublin: 8 °C Monday 18 November, 2019
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Easy now - Farmers start breaking milk quotas before they're supposed to

The EU’s milk quota regime will end next March – but it seems farmers may have jumped the gun in anticipation of the change.

Image: Jonathan Hayward/Press Association

MILK SUPPLIES SO far this year are over-quota, according to new figures released today.

These figures, announced by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney, see milk supply at 6.93% over-quota when the butterfat adjustment is taken into account.

This is a substantial increase on the figure from this time last year when milk supply was only 0.42% over-quota.

There was also an increase of almost half a percentage on the end of August figure of 6.44%. Some of the reasons for the excess milk supply are thought to be good prices, the fair weather and increased cow numbers.

Speaking about the overrun, Minister Coveney said:

 It remains critically important that individual farmers take account of their milk quotas in managing their enterprises, in this final year of quotas. Milk producers who are in an over-quota position should consult with their dairy advisors and examine ways in which any potential super levy bill can be mitigated.

The end of quotas 

The EU’s milk quota regime will come to an end next March and this event will allow Irish farmers to produce and export more milk.

Over the past thirty years the milk quotas have constrained the amount of milk Irish dairy farmers are able to produce.

In reaction to the announcement, chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association National Dairy Committee Sean O’Leary said the surplus could lead to a superlevy situation in the last year of the EU’s quota regime.

Caution 

O’Leary warned about impending changes that need to be considered with the end of the milk quotas. He warned against over-expansion by farmers prior to the end of the quotas.

Irish milk supplies reflect the global trend of exceptionally fast output growth. However, farmers need to remember that superlevy is with us for another six months – and production looks set to exceed our quota quite considerably as farmers gear up for the end of the regime.

“It is crucial that farmers seek assistance from their Teagasc or private advisor to minimise their exposure to a costly fine,” said O’Leary.

Read: ‘Young and active farmers’ will benefit from today’s Budget

Also: Here’s what’s being done about people abandoning ‘useless’ foals

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