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Minister 'disappointed' over likelihood of super levy fine for milk farmers

The Minister for Agriculture says that Irish milk producers may incur a super levy fine for the first time in several years as March is expected to be at 0.69 per cent above quota.

THE MINISTER FOR Agriculture has said the level of milk deliveries up to the end of March 2012 is expected to be at 0.69 per cent above quota, meaning that Irish milk producers may incur a super levy fine for the first time in several years.

Minister Simon Coveney said that 99 per cent of returns from the country’s Co-ops had been received and that, once the appropriate adjustments for butter fat content and the leap year had been made, it was indicated that milk-producers will incur the levy for the first time since the quota year 2007/2008.

Coveney said he acknowledged the pressures faced by farmers over the past twelve months in trying balance the “very attractive prices being paid in response to a strong global demand for dairy products and the limitations placed on them by their individual milk quota allocations.”

He added there was no doubt that “all the elements for successful milk production” came together last month, including increased calving, good weather and good grass growth – resulting in the volume of milk produced in March being an estimated 8 per cent higher that the corresponding month in 2011.

However, he warned that Ireland would likely face similar challenges in the new quota year, and reminded farmers to carefully plan their production activities and to pay close attention to the limitations imposed by the quota regime.

Coveney said that, even allowing for a further increase of one per cent in the national quota, farmers would be challenged to remain within their allocations.

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“For my part, I intend to continue my efforts to raise the issue of a soft landing at every opportunity with Member State colleagues and with the Commission in order to ease the transition to the post quota situation for Irish farmers,” he said.

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