A deal among EU Agriculture Ministers on altering the butterfat coefficient is becoming more unlikely as the weeks pass.

The butterfat deal which would give a country like Ireland an extra 2% of quota this year and would help us reduce our superlevy has been described by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney as unlikely at for the moment.

The milk quota regime will come to an end on the March 31, 2015. The Minister said: “Under the Milk Quota Regulations all farmers who intend commencing milk deliveries before that date, including those who will commence after 1 January 2015, will require a milk quota. Up to March 31, 2015 milk purchasers cannot accept deliveries from milk suppliers, unless the milk supplier holds a milk quota with that milk purchaser.

“Given that the rate of the super levy fine is set by EU Council Regulation it is not possible for me to change that rate without the agreement of both the Commission and all other Member States, and such an agreement is not forthcoming. While I have sought and continue to seek amendments at EU level to improve the ‘soft landing’ for Irish dairy producers in collaboration with like-minded other Member States, unfortunately there is no common position at the Council of Agriculture Ministers and for the moment such an improvement looks unlikely to be achieved.

“However, I expect the matter to be on the agenda for discussion at July Council where I will once again seek to have the matter progressed in favour of Irish dairy farmers.”

He added: “In preparation for quota abolition, I have announced a number of significant investments by my Department in the Irish dairy sector particularly at farm level. These include the Dairy Expansion Scheme and the TAMS funding for the dairy sector. The new RDP to commence from next year also contains a number of proposals for additional TAMS funding for dairy farms. These investments complement the excellent work being undertaken by Teagasc and ICBF in preparing dairy fairy farmers to take advantage of the significant opportunity which quota abolition will present.”