ICOS sources in Brussels have told Agriland that Ireland will push to have the butterfat adjustment issue debated at next Monday’s Council of EU Agriculture Ministers’ meeting.

However, the odds are against Ireland, and they quoted odds of three to one against Ireland succeeding. “But anything can happen between now and next week. Part of the problem is that a number of EU Member States are of the view that Ireland will flood Europe with milk post 2015 and this will have a very serious impact on farm gate milk returns right across Europe.

“For our part, we have been telling Member State delegations in Brussels that Ireland only accounts for 0.08% of total world dairy output. And even if we do reach our Harvest 2020 expansion target, the effect this will have on world dairy markets will be miniscule. So the belief that the Irish dairy industry is going to crash farm gate milk returns throughout Europe just doesn’t stack up.

“We will continue to lobby on these issues for as long as is required to get these important messages across.”

ICOS would not be drawn as to whether or not next Monday will be ‘make or break’ in determining the final outcome of the butterfat debate. The official line is ‘very probably’. However, it is believed that Dublin will make another attempt to crack the nut, should this be required, in the autumn, By that time there will be a new Farm Commissioner in situ.

And, of course, it could turn out that Ireland’s Phil Hogan will be the man in the Brussels’ Farm Hot Seat at that time.