The EU Commission is proposing an extension to the current intervention period for skimmed milk powder (SMP) and butter from the end of September through to December 31, 2015.

This will be immediately followed by the introduction of intervention measures for 2016, covering the period January 1 through to September 30 if passed in Brussels.

Where Aids to Private Storage support measures for dairy are concerned, the current scheme will be extended from September 30, 2015 to February 29, 2016.

These amended support measures are being proposed by Brussels in light of the continuing downturn pressure impacting on world dairy markets and the impact of the Russian ban on EU food imports.

Significantly, the Commission in Brussels is not proposing any changes to either the current intervention or aids to private storage price structure.

Meanwhile, ICOS has confirmed that Lithuania became the first member state to offer volumes of SMP into public intervention, with 197t of powder offered earlier this week.

It is envisaged that Lithuania plans to offer about 500t of SMP into intervention every week until the end of August. The country has been most directly affected of all the EU’s member states by the Russian food ban.

Meanwhile, United Dairy Farmers CEO David Dobbin has said it is likely that SMP processors in Northern Ireland will soon be intervening product, as current powder market returns are below the intervention level.

“There is no prospect of any immediate change in markets until milk output moderates or demand improves.

“The EU Commission is unwilling to improve intervention prices, claiming that the short term pain is necessary to reduce milk supply.

“This is worst market situation I have seen personally in my time in dairy and I am acutely aware of the personal hardship being faced by many dairy farmers.”