There were approximately 6,500 farmers over quota in the last quota year, according to latest Department estimates.

Just under 3,700 dairy farmers have applied for the Department of Agriculture‘s Superlevy Instalment Scheme.

It says the exact figure will be finalised after the allocation of flexi-milk quota which is expected to happen in August.

The Department’s expenditure on the scheme will only be known when all 3,700 farmers who applied for the scheme have been assessed which is ongoing at the moment.

The preliminary output estimate for the end of the final milk quota year is that Ireland will finish 4.34% over quota resulting in a superlevy bill in the region of €69m, according to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

The 2014/15 quota year expired on March 31 last and the 4.34% figure is an estimate based on returns to the Department by the co-ops, taking into account the relevant butterfat adjustment.

Domestic milk intake by creameries and pasteurisers was estimated at 775.5m litres for April 2015, according to the CSO.

It says this was 14.5% above the corresponding 2014 figure.

Comparing the April 2015 milk produce figures with those for April 2014 also shows that total milk sold for human consumption decreased by 1.9% to 36.2m litres. Meanwhile butter production was up 15.3% to 19,900t.

Despite lower milk prices, EU milk deliveries in 2015 are expected to be nearly 1% above 2014, according to the European Commission.

It means that after the 1.2% decrease observed in the first three months of the year, until quota expiry. EU milk collection could increase by 1.6% compared to last year, in the remaining months of the year.