Some 8,104 tonnes of Irish butter is currently in the EU’s Private Storage Aid (PSA) scheme, according to latest figures from the European Commission.

The PSA scheme was reopened in September following the Russian ban on EU food imports and the consequent threat that markets in the area may be negatively affected.

In the first eight weeks of the scheme, 18,143 tonnes of butter went into the scheme, with the majority of the butter coming from Ireland. The latest figures show that some 44% of the total butter in the storage scheme is Irish.

In 2013, Ireland exported €614m worth of butter, of which €487,000 worth was exported to Russia. Finland and France accounted for two thirds of EU butter exports to Russia, before the ban.

The PSA is a payment made by the European Commission to processors in return for keeping products in storage and off the market for an agreed period of time. The scheme covers butter and SMP and had also been extended to cheese.

According to the CSO, in 2013, Ireland produced 152,000 tonnes of butter. Comparing the CSO September 2014 milk produce figures with those for September 2013 shows that Irish butter production was up 16.0% to 15,700 tonnes.

Ireland also used the PSA scheme for cheese with 7,109 tonnes in storage, according to the latest figures.

The PSA for cheese was closed in late September due to a disproportionate surge from cheese producing countries not traditionally exporting significant quantities of cheese to Russia.

In the 18 days that the scheme was open 100,804 tonnes of cheese were sent to the scheme. The majority of this came from Italy. The PSA for butter and SMP is due to remain open until December 31, 2014.