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Minister Expresses Concern at Possible Super Levy Fine

With 99% of the returns received from the Co-ops, the level of milk deliveries (with appropriate butter-fat adjustment) up to end February 2012 is estimated to be marginally under quota. Assuming a similar or greater level of production this month, compared to March 2011, Ireland will incur a super levy fine for the first time since 2007/08. Minister Coveney said 'that following eight consecutive months of controlled production, where Ireland's quota position dropped from being at a mid-summer high of 3.92% over quota to an end of January 2012 position of 0.3% under quota, it is disappointing to see all this effort lost during February, when production was higher than February 2011'.

The Minister said that, according to Teagasc, among the practical actions farmers can still take to address the situation are to feed additional milk to calves, reduce concentrate feeding to cows given the very good grass supply this Spring or implement once daily milking. Farmers can consider these actions in conjunction with their local Teagasc or Co-op advisor. They may not solve the problem this year but will limit any super levy fine. The Minister also advised dairy farmers to 'to put an appropriate production management strategy in place for next year'.

The Minister acknowledged the difficult choices farmers have been faced with over the past twelve months, and will face for the coming two quota years, as they prepare to expand their enterprises in preparation for post 2015. However, he urged milk suppliers to continue to take the necessary steps to avoid super levy fines.

The Minister called on all milk producers to make this final effort to avoid a penalty in the 2011/12 quota year.



Date Released: 14 March 2012