Reduced superlevy bills may mean farmers are owed money by their co-ops

Many dairy farmers will be owed money, now that the superlevy bill is €5m less than previously expected, according to the ICMSA.

Pat McCormack, Deputy President of ICMSA, welcomed the new superlevy figures and said  every effort must now be made to pay back the balance to those dairy farmers from the original higher sum had been deducted as quickly as possible.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney announced this week that with all returns from milk purchasers now received, the overall level of milk deliveries for the 2013/2014 milk quota year has been calculated at 0.65% above quota. This final calculation of the national position is less than the earlier estimated position of 0.94%, due mainly to a lower level of butterfat content in milk this year over the previous two years. Based on these calculations, the final super levy bill is expected to be in the region of €10.5m down from the expected €15m.

Commenting on the reduction of the superlevy bill f2013/14 milk quota year, McCormack reminded farmers that, under the Milk Quota Regulations, Co-ops are obliged to pay interest on fines collected during the year and the ICMSA Deputy President observed that this could amount to sizable sums depending on monies withheld. He said that ICMSA is aware of cases where farmers have had monies withheld from them for almost a year and the quicker the resolution of all accounts was progressed, the better it would be for all sides.

The Minister commented that “last year was a good year for Irish dairy farmers in terms of increased income as favourable weather and prices combined to drive higher supplies. The eventual superlevy fine, while undesirable in the first place, will be lower than expected and dairy farmers can focus on preparing for quota abolition next April”.

The Minister also announced that the total volume of milk supplies for the first two months of this quota year (April – May 2014) taking into account the relevant butterfat adjustment, leaves Ireland at 9% over quota at end of May.  This compares to being 4.64% under quota at the same point last year.

The Minister again stressed that it remains critically important that individual milk producers continue to manage their enterprises, having regard to the quota situation, until the expiry of the milk quota regime next March. Strong prices, good weather and high cow numbers could result in Ireland being over quota again this year unless production is managed carefully.

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