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Dairy Demonstration Farm to be allocated Milk Quota

- Coveney announces further support for dairy research -

Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, today announced that he has approved the allocation of milk quota to a major research project aimed at demonstrating best practice in conversion to dairy farming.  The project is being undertaken by Teagasc's Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre in conjunction with Bandon, Barryroe, Lisavaird and Drinagh Co-ops and with Carbery Milk Products Ltd.  It will generate valuable technical, financial and management data that will be disseminated to dairy farmers in the region and around the country by Teagasc through its advisory network and other channels.

Commenting on the decision to allocate quota to the project, the Minister said: "This initiative is of considerable strategic importance, given the ambitious expansion targets outlined in Food Harvest 2020. As well as coming from existing family farms, expansion is most likely to be contributed to by conversion from alternative enterprise. Teagasc wants to play a leading role by providing a demonstration farm that will showcase best practice in this regard, and I believe that is something that should be supported."

The Minister also pointed to a second, critically important element of the project which incorporates five expanding family farms and aims to support increased productivity within the limits imposed by the milk quota regime up to 2015. "Recent experience has shown that quotas are still a very real constraint on dairy expansion, and it is clear that the threat of a super levy is likely to loom large over the remaining period until quota abolition in 2015. Milk producers must therefore plan their expansion very carefully, and be mindful of the need to avoid a super levy in the short term while preparing their enterprises for significant expansion post-2015. I believe that the information to be generated by these five farms will make a vital contribution to assisting all dairy farmers in these efforts, and I look forward in particular to learning of progress in relation to this element of the project."

The Minister indicated that quota allocations are expected to rise from an initial allocation of less than 100,000 litres to a maximum of just over 1 million litres in 2014/2015. He also pointed out that the allocations complement those made to the Greenfield Dairy Project in Kilkenny, which has been under way since late 2009, and with which dairy farmers around the country are very familiar.

Date Released: 08 July 2011