Ireland offered 12,784t of Skimmed Milk Powder (SMP) to the public intervention measure in the first four months of the year, the latest Milk Market Observatory (MMO) figures show.

Quantities being offered to the measure from Ireland spiked at the start of 2016 with almost 4,000t of SMP in intervention by the first week of February.

The volume limit of 109,000t for intervention was reached on March 31 by EU Member States using the measure, then a tendering process came into effect.

After the ceiling was reached, Ireland began to offer increased amounts of SMP to the measure. Some 5,726t was offered following the volume limit being reached, bringing Ireland’s total to 12,784t.

Other EU Member States have also started offering increased quantities to the measure and the total amount of SMP in intervention to date stands at 143,585t.

Earlier this year, the European Commission officially lifted its ceilings on the levels of milk powder and butter that can be put into intervention in a single year.

The move came on the back of political agreement for the move at a meeting of European Agriculture Ministers and follows huge pressure from the farming community to help address the deepening crisis in dairy markets.

The volume limits for SMP and butter to enter intervention at a fixed price were officially raised on April 21, following the publication of the official EU regulations.

The ceiling for SMP will rise from 109,000t to 218,000t and for butter it will be lifted from 60,000t to 100,000t.