The preliminary output estimate for the end of the final milk quota year is that Ireland will finish 4.34% over quota resulting in a superlevy bill in the region of €69m.

The 2014/15 quota year expired on March 31 last and the 4.34% figure is an estimate based on returns to the Department by the co-ops, taking into account the relevant butterfat adjustment.

The confirmed final position will not be available until August when all flexi milk is distributed and all returns have been received.

The facility for dairy farmers to pay the bill in instalments, as announced by Commissioner Hogan, is designed to help them to deal with the cash flow challenge.

The Department of Agriculture is currently finalising the implementation details and will be making a further announcement in this regard very soon.

Speaking in the Dail the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said officials in his Department are currently putting procedures in place for the collection of the first instalment from farmers before the end of September

Officials are also working on the introduction of a scheme to collect the remainder of the instalments in September 2016-2017.

He said he expected to be announcing the details of the scheme in the near future

Proposed scheme details

The Minster said under the proposed scheme the Department upon receipt of a formal application from a milk producer wishing to participate in the Scheme will raise a debt against the milk producer for the outstanding amount of superlevy due and facilitate the payment in three annual instalments.

He said milk producers wishing to avail of the scheme will be asked to apply through their milk purchaser and the scheme will, at the outset, involve the establishment of a contract between the milk producer and the Department.

The contract will set out the value of the debt being raised and the conditions which must be complied with, he said.

The Minister said he is satisfied that this approach strikes the balance between flexibility for farmers while also safe guarding the exchequer.