Seasonality of Irish milk production becoming more pronounced

The seasonality of Irish milk production is becoming more pronounced, according to a recent analysis by AHDB dairy in the UK.

From 2010/11 to 2015/16, milk production in Ireland increased by almost 26%. However, this only tells half the story.

According to AHDB, much of the additional milk has been delivered in the spring months, and the seasonal nature of the industry has become more pronounced.

The Peak to Trough Ratio (PTR) has increased from 4.7 to 5.7 during this period.

In other words, Ireland produces almost six times as much milk in the peak as it does in the trough. This compares with the UK having a PTR of just 1.2, according to the AHDB. A ratio that has remained relatively stable for many years.

This means that the Irish processing sector will work significantly harder at certain times of the year as opposed to if volumes were delivered evenly throughout the year.

For instance, the ADHB says more than 60% of Ireland’s milk production takes place between April and August. While assuming Irish processors had capacity to process peak production in May 2015, it says this would mean that capacity utilisation between November 2015 and February 2016 would have averaged less than 30%.

Domestic milk intake by creameries and pasteurisers remained relatively stable in the 5 quota years preceding the end of the quota regime. In the 12 month period after the end of the regime (April 2015-March 2016) domestic milk intake increased by 18.5%.

Total EU milk intake by creameries and pasteurisers in the 12 month period after the end of the quota regime was almost 150,000 million litres. This represents a 4.5% increase when compared with the 12 month period immediately preceding the end of the regime.

The 10 EU Member States with the largest milk intake accounted for almost 86% of total EU milk intake. Ireland had the largest percentage increase in milk intake (18.5%) whereas Italy’s milk intake decreased by 2.2%