Milk production climbed by 3.9% on dairy farms in the Republic of Ireland in March, compared to the same month last year, the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show.

This was the first monthly increase in milk production reported in 2017; falls of 4.6% and 7.8%, versus 2016 figures, were recorded in January and February respectively.

Domestic milk intake by creameries and pasteurisers was estimated at 617.6m litres for the third month of the year, according to the CSO.

Comparing figures from March of this year to those in the same month last year shows that total milk sold for human consumption increased by 4.7% to 46m litres; butter production was up 1.7% to 20,430t, the CSO added.

Milk Production

Source: CSO

Milk production on Irish farms during the first three months of 2017 also reported an increase of 1.1%, compared to the same period in the previous year.

In the first quarter of this year, an estimated 1,040.3m litres of domestic milk were taken in by creameries and pasteurisers. In comparison, this figure stood at 1,029.3m litres for the same period in 2016.

Competitiveness of Irish dairy sector

Meanwhile, a recent report from Teagasc has indicated that Ireland is still one of the lowest cash cost producers of milk internationally.

A detailed report and analysis of trends in the main sectors in Irish agriculture was published by Teagasc, as part of an international workshop on measuring international competitiveness and efficiency in agriculture.

The analysis has reaffirmed the competitive advantage associated with the Irish dairy farming system in particular, according to the report.

Irish dairy farms continue to exhibit relatively low cash costs of production when compared against key EU and international competitors, it added.

In the past, cash costs in Ireland were one of the lowest amongst the key EU dairy-producing regions, at €2.7/kg of milk solids. This was substantially lower than countries such as the UK, France, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, Teagasc Economist Dr. Fiona Thorne said.

“Our latest research shows that, based on a total cost competitiveness index, we are finally beginning to see our total economic costs reduce in an international context – due to increases in scale,” she said.