Ireland currently has some 11,234t of butter in the European Union’s Aids to Private Storage Scheme, according to latest figures from the Milk Market Observatory.

This has increased substantially since April with less than 200t of butter in the scheme at that time. Other countries with significant amounts of butter in the scheme include the Netherlands (49,000t), France (19,000t) and Denmark (15,000t).

Ireland also has a over 5,500t of skimmed milk powder in the private storage scheme representing 13% of the total amount in the scheme.

The schemes for Aid to Private Storage are market support measures introduced by the EU Commission when seasonal imbalance arise between supply and demand in the butter, cream and cheese markets.

The Scheme’s aim is to facilitate producers to store these products for a stipulated storage period. At the end of the storage period the storer receives aid at a rate, which has been fixed in advance.

They are an alternative to public intervention in that the products remain the property of the stores to sell at their unrestricted discretion at the end of the storage period.


Meanwhile, EU Member State use of intervention continues to increase following Lithuania’s decision to become the first country to use the measure since 2009. Latest figures from the Milk Market Observatory show that as of August 2, some 2600t of skimmed milk powder have been offered to public intervention.

Other countries now using the measure included Belgium and Poland.

Following the growing concern about the economic situation in the dairy sectors in certain Member States of the EU, the Luxembourg Presidency decided to convene an extraordinary Agriculture Council meeting on Monday, September 7, 2015, in Brussels.

At meeting of European Agriculture Ministers last week, the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney asked EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan to give serious consideration to an intervention price increase.

Commissioner Hogan, recently announced that the safety net measures for the European dairy, fruit and vegetables sectors will be extended into 2016.

For the dairy sector, the measures consist of public buying-in (intervention) and private storage aid (PSA) for both butter and skimmed milk powder (SMP). These measures are currently in place and without such an extension would come to an end on 30 September 2015.

Intervention will be prolonged from 1 October 2015 to 29 February 2016 in order to avoid any discontinuation in its operation (for dairy products, intervention is systematically open every year from 1 March to 30 September). Private storage (for which no automatic opening applies) will also be prolonged until 29 February 2016.