Milk production up by 28% in March compared to 2015
Domestic milk intake by creameries and pasteurisers was estimated at 582.5 million litres for March 2016, according to latest figures from the CSO.
This was 28.3% above the corresponding March 2015 figure which was the final month of the milk quota regime.
Comparing the March 2016 milk produce figures with those for March 2015 shows that total milk sold for human consumption decreased by 2.9% to 44.0 million litres. Butter production was up 35.2% to 20,000 tonnes.
In its outlook for 2016, Teagasc has looked at how Irish milk production might evolve next year.
Despite the fall in milk prices in 2015, the removal of milk quotas saw Irish milk production increase by more than 10%.
Teagasc says this was achieved via an increase in cow numbers of over 5%, with the balance of the increase associated with higher milk yields.
EU milk collection was up by 7.4% in JanuaryFebruary 2016 (= + 1.7 million t), part of which can be related to the leap day.
According to the European Commission, the average farm gate milk prices approximated 29.3 c/kg in February and a further decrease is expected for March (28.6 c/kg).
In 2016, the Commission forecasts that EU deliveries could grow by around 2 million tonnes.
While limited growth is expected in France, where cooperatives and dairy companies limit incentives for farmers to expand production, significant increases are expected in Ireland, the Netherlands and Denmark.
Higher deliveries could also take place in the UK, while only a limited expansion is expected in Germany.
Contrary to this trend, the Commission says that the eastern part of the EU could experience a stabilisation of deliveries, especially in view of herd developments in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Baltic countries.