Eight Member States including Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Austria, Cyprus and Luxembourg  exceeded their milk quotas for deliveries in 2013/2014, and must therefore paid superlevy bills totalling roughly € 409 million.

Some months ago Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney announced that on the basis of returns received from milk purchasers, the overall level of milk deliveries for the 2013/2014 milk quota year has been calculated at 0.65% above quota. This final calculation of the national position was less than the earlier estimated position of 0.94%, due mainly to a lower level of butterfat content in milk this year over the previous two years. Based on these calculations, the final super levy bill is expected to be in the region of €10.5m, down from the expected €15m.

The European Commission announced today that despite the overrun of the quotas in these Member States, total EU deliveries remained 4.6% below the total quota volumes, compared with 6.0% in 2012/13. In addition, the Netherlands overshot its direct sales quota by 3 300t (4.2%) and faces an additional levy of € 918 000.

According to national declarations for the year ending March 31, 2014, the eight aforementioned Member States exceeded their national quotas for delivery by a total of 1.469 000 tons.

The number of Member States exceeding their quotas remains limited and the concerned surplus production accounts for 1.0% of all milk delivered or covered by direct sales (0.1% in the previous milk quota year). Some 20 Member States remained under quota, of which 14 were more than 10% below their delivery threshold.

The dairy quota regime will be abolished on April 1 2015.

The dairy quota system was introduced in the 1980s in order to address problems of surplus production. Each Member State has two quotas, one for deliveries to dairies (97.6% of EU total), and the other one for direct sales at farm level (2.4%). These quantities are distributed among producers (individual quotas) in each Member State. Where a Member State exceeds its national quota, a surplus levy (often called “superlevy”) of € 27.83 per 100kg is payable in the Member State concerned, paid by the producers in proportion to their contribution to the overrun during the quota year (1 April – 31 March). These figures are established after a redistribution of non-used quota of other producers.