There is no indication of a threat to the supply of fresh liquid winter milk in the near term, according to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

The Minister was responding to a recent parliamentary question from Fianna Fail agriculture spokesman Eamon Ó Cuív on whether here is any threat to the supply of fresh liquid winter milk in the short to medium term; the steps he has taken to address the matter. Costs of production have put increasing pressure on the margins of Liquid milk producers particularly during the winter months.

However, the Minister stated that in the five prescribed winter months of October 2013 to February 2014 total milk supplies by registered producers amounted to an estimated 296 million litres, an increase of 12 million litres on 2012/13, representing more than adequate cover for liquid milk consumption of an estimated 225 million litres.

Minister Coveney did state that the removal of EU quotas in 2015 may have an impact on the manufacturing and liquid sectors and in particular winter milk production and developments in that regard will be monitored closely.

The fresh milk market is the largest consumer market for milk and milk products in the State with an estimated retail value of €513m in 2013. National consumption of fresh liquid milk in 2013 was 552 million litres. Average per capita consumption in the State of 0.34 litres per day was the second highest in the EU.