One in four consumers in Ireland are drinking milk from Northern Ireland, according to Muiris O Ceidigh, CEO National Milk Agency.

Speaking at the IFA Liquid Milk Forum he said that the strategy of the National Dairy Council and its ‘farmed in the Republic of Ireland’ strategy and logo is important. He said that the National Milk Agency had been asked to establish a logo for Irish milk for years, but because of the Agency’s statutory standing it could not. “It wasn’t that we didn’t want to do it, but we can’t because of our statutory standing.”

However, he said there is an issue where some processors are putting some milk onto shelves with the NDC logo, but other milk – in different size packaging does not carry the logo and is an issue as it’s confusion for consumers. He said this must change.

The increased volumes of milk coming from Northern Ireland, he said, is because of the lack of quota restrictions it has experienced over the past 20 years. Production levels in the North have increased by 53% in that time.

But southern liquid milk producers are more profitable than their northern counterparts, Joe Patton, Research Officer with Teagasc told the forum. He said that the profitability of Northern system is closer to zero than southern farmers and more operate at marginal profit than we do.