Irish milk output sees 45.2% value boost in 2017

There was an increase of 45.2% – or €808.7 million – in the value of milk output, to almost €2.6 billion in 2017, according to the latest statistics from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Released earlier today, the CSO’s ‘Preliminary Estimates of Output, Input and Income in Agriculture in 2017’ revealed an overall aggregate farm income (operating surplus) increase of 35.2% to almost €3.5 billion in 2017.

With a boost of 45.2%, dairy was a key driver of the overall agricultural income rise, according to the CSO.

The figures show that the volume of milk output increased by 9.4%.

Milk price indicators such as the Ornua Purchase Price Index (PPI) have shown that milk price held up well during 2017 – after a period of struggle over the preceding couple of years – gradually rising over the summer and autumn to peak in October.

In addition, the preliminary estimates of the CSO’s Agricultural Price Indices for 2017 showed a substantial 30.6% increase in the milk price index, which was a key contributor to the overall 9.6% increase in agricultural output price index for 2017.

Farmers urged to heed market warnings

However, for 2018, farmers have been urged to heed warnings of oversupply on the European milk market by European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan, who has warned that milk prices will drop if the current unsustainable levels of milk supply continue.

The commissioner stressed that the issue should be a “major concern” for the sector and warned that there will be “no bailout” if warnings are ignored at industry and farm level.

Also Read: ‘There will be no bailout if milk price drops’ – Hogan

“This should be a major concern for farmers; I’m trying to show farmers that if their industry does not have proper balance between supply and demand on the marketplace for dairy, then there will be a reduction in price for the farmer,” Commissioner Hogan said.

“Farmers have to understand that they cannot continue in the European Union by increasing substantially [production of] any particular product if they don’t have a market for it.

We don’t have a market for the levels of production we have in the milk sector at the moment and this is a worry.

The commissioner stressed that it was vital that balance is restored in the market; if this was achieved, there will be no cut. To achieve this, the onus is on suppliers and co-ops, he said.