The race is on for EU dairy compensation
Hundreds expected to apply for milk reduction payments
Co-ops face a wave of applications from farmers opting for the EU's new voluntary milk supply reduction scheme.
Top dairy advisors say that farmers in marginal areas would be 'foolish' to ignore the 14.42c/l payment if they are facing the alternative of feeding silage and meal to produce milk at the current critically low prices.
"A farmer milking 100 cows could pocket €9,200 in EU compensation by drying off cows at the end of September," said Teagasc's John Donworth.
However, he added that it would only be attractive to farmers who did not have grazing available or milk sold forward into the fixed price schemes that are paying considerably more than the current average of 22-23c/l.
With 40pc of the country's milk pool produced on marginal soils, it is likely that hundreds of farmers will be keen to access the scheme.
EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said that the scheme would run on a first-come-first-served basis. This will force farmers banking on the payment to get into the scheme as early as possible.
The moves are likely to put dairy processors charged with administering the scheme under huge pressure given the tight three week window for applications being mooted by Commission officials.
This is despite claims that there would be no "appetite" among Irish dairy farmers for the initiative.