Dairy farmers poised to beat superlevy bill
But quota experts warn of even greater pressure in coming year
Dairy farmers look set to escape a multi-million euro superlevy bill after they applied their collective brakes to milk supplies in the dying days of the 2010/2011 quota year.
The latest estimate from ICOS shows that Ireland finished less than 0.5pc or 15-20 million litres under quota for the year ending March 31.
While confirmation of the final quota position will not be available for some days, the ICOS figures would suggest that the country came within one day's supply of incurring a superlevy bill.
A co-ordinated slowdown in milk supplies to the country's two biggest processors, Glanbia and Dairygold, was one of the biggest factors in avoiding the superlevy.
However, warning flags have already been raised about the possibility of a superlevy bill in the 2011/2012 quota year and beyond.
ICOS quota expert George Kearns warned that all the factors that would point to a superlevy next year are already in place.
"Cow numbers are already running ahead of national quota levels and the buoyant milk price will be a major factor," he pointed out, adding that milk supplies have already started the year strongly in early April.
Glanbia has confirmed that it expects the final figures to show that it finished the 2010/2011 supply year at between 3.5pc and 4pc over quota.