Ireland likely to end the year less than 1% over quota – Minister

Ireland is set to end the year less than 1% over quota according to Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

In a statement released this morning Minister Coveney announced that the preliminary output estimate for the end of the milk quota year is that Ireland will finish 0.94% over quota. The 2013/14 quota year expired on 31 March last and the 0.94% figure is an estimate based on returns to the Department by the co-ops, taking into account the relevant butterfat adjustment. The final figure will be confirmed at the end of May.

Minister Coveney commented “While this end of year figure is still only an estimate, it appears that farmers have made substantial efforts over recent weeks to manage their supplies. The current position represents a significant improvement in production management since last January when the estimated milk quota position was 1.63% over quota”.

The 0.94% over quota position is a reduction on the 1.26% estimate at end-February and continues a downward trend from December of last year. This is mainly attributed to unfavourable weather in the first quarter of this year as well as better management by farmers of their supplies.

Referring to the ending of the quota regime the Minister said “As we enter the final year of the milk quota regime, I would again remind farmers to have regard to their quota position in planning their production over the coming 12 months. While many farmers are anxious to expand their production levels, it is important to remember that quota restrictions will remain in place until this time next year. I would encourage farmers to be conscious of this and to plan prudently as they prepare for the post quota era”.

He also reminded suppliers that they should only sell their milk through their usual purchaser in compliance with the Milk Quota Regulations and that to sell through any other channels is an offence.

Concluding, the Minister said “We are now entering a momentous phase in Irish agriculture history, with less than one year to go to quota abolition. This time next year the Irish dairy sector will be unbound by quota restrictions and can begin to realise its vast potential and make an even greater contribution to our national economy”.