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Coveney Urges Dairy Farmers To Heed Quota Limitations

Initial estimates for final 2010/2011 outcome show milk deliveries 0.43% under quota

Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, today reminded dairy farmers of the ongoing and pressing need to exercise caution and to plan carefully as the 2011/2012 milk quota year gets under way in earnest. The Minister confirmed that, as of earlier today, with 99 per cent of national quota accounted for by returns from milk purchasers in respect of March 2011, estimated butterfat-adjusted deliveries for the 2010/2011 milk quota year were 0.43% under quota.

The Minister said: "Although these figures are still to be confirmed, and a definitive final position will not be available for some time, it appears at this juncture that the country has, fortunately, avoided a super levy. However, given generally favourable market forecasts and the increased rates of heifer retention in recent years, I am concerned about the real danger of going over quota in the 2011/2012 milk quota year, and in subsequent years."

The Minister pointed to the market recovery in 2010 and the favourable weather conditions which gave rise to a dramatic increase in milk production, resulting in a remarkable turnaround from a position where the country was 10 per cent under quota at the end of the 2009/2010 milk quota year to one in which a super levy appears to have been only narrowly avoided. He also alluded to anecdotal evidence which suggests that milk supplies are already running ahead of expectations in the first two weeks of the new milk quota year.

The Minister concluded: "In such circumstances it is appropriate to again remind all dairy farmers of the need to carefully plan their production activities and to pay close attention to the limitations imposed by the quota regime if they are to avoid potentially very damaging super levy fines. Even allowing for a further increase of one per cent in the national quota since 1 April 2011, recent delivery trends, if repeated, will put the country in serious danger of going over quota. It is therefore incumbent upon every milk producer to exercise the necessary caution and to seek advice from, for example, Teagasc on the most sensible approach to be taken in managing their enterprises as they enter a crucial phase of the preparations for the abolition of quota."

Date Released: 13 April 2011