How much milk was supplied from Irish farms last year…and how was it used?

Domestic Irish milk supply increased by 5% – amounting to a rise of 401 million litres last year – in spite of a poor back-end to the production season, according to the National Milk Agency in its annual report for 2019.

The agency’s document also noted the accounts for last year.

In the report, commenting on Irish domestic milk supplies to creameries and pasteurisers in 2019, it was noted that milk sent in amounted to “7,986 million litres, an increase of 401 million litres or 5% on 2018”.

The number of milk producers in the state in 2019 is estimated at 17,000, the same as in 2018. The average annual milk supplies per producer were 470,000L.

It was highlighted that 95% of domestic milk supplies were utilised in the manufacture of dairy products, which were mainly for export, while 5% of supplies were processed for liquid consumption on the domestic market, the document details.

The National Milk Agency noted that domestic milk supplies in 2019 “continued to be characterised by a highly seasonal production pattern, based on grassland milk production and seasonal calving, with 78% of milk supplies being supplied in the seven months of March to September, and 22% in the five months of October to February, inclusive”.

Supplies to the end of August increased by 498 million litres or 9% compared with the same period in 2018.

Wet weather conditions from September to December 2019 resulted in supplies in that period decreasing by 97 million litres or 5% and causing a reduction in the annual increase to 401 million litres or 5%, the agency said.

The domestic milk supply profile had a peak-to-trough month ratio of 6.1/1 which comprised a peak-to-trough month ratio of 8.3/1 for milk supplies from manufacturing milk producers and of 2.1/1 for milk supplies from registered milk producers, the report noted.