Following little success in reducing Ireland’s superlevy bill, the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said this week that an extension to the payment period is being considered.

In the Dail this week, the Minister stated his disappointment at over the lack of agreement at EU level to reduce dairy farmers superlevy burden with an amendment of the superlevy regulations.

However, he said there were other things being looked at by agriculture officials around the superlevy difficulties.

The Minister said that one such measure being examined, was to extend the payment period over a number of years.

“This would make the cash flow issues around superlevy much more manageable and I think we are making good progress on that,” he said

The Minister also said this week that the monthly intake of milk in November was 13% down on the same month last year and this suggests farmers are taking on-farm measures to reduce their exposure to potential super levy payments.

He said it is not possible for him on a unilateral basis to adjust super levy rules.

However, he said he has consistently called on the EU Commission to take action to ease the burden of the super levy in the final year of the quota regime.

In this context a number of other member states are opposed to any action on this and have sought to link the issue to possible measures to regulate supply after quotas are gone, he said.

“I am obviously resolutely opposed to supply controls after quota abolition next April on the basis that these quotas have only served to shackle Irish farmers over the last 30 years. The resultant stalemate means there is insufficient support for any change to the regulations and no agreement has been possible.”

Minister Coveney said he would urge farmers to use the time between now and the ending of milk quotas next March to identify, in conjunction with their dairy adviser, steps to manage both their milk supply and their dairy herds so that they have an efficient herd as they enter the post quota era.