Farmers double milk output to 7.5 billion litres two years early
The country's milk pool has hit a massive 7.5 billion litres as dairy farmers have reached their 50pc expansion target a full two years early.
Dr Pat Dillon, a Teagasc dairy expert, described the scale of the expansion and investment in rural Ireland as an "unbelievable" story.
He estimates around €1.6bn of investment in stainless steel processing facilities has taken place since 2014, delivering a massive boom for the economy.
The figures also show that the rising milk pool from more than 18,000 farmers milking over 1.4 million cows is delivering an extra €800m into the rural economy at current milk prices.
He said the dairy industry was "vital to Irish rural life".
"For young people who want to get in to agriculture, they have to see a future in farming - they've voted on their feet," said Dr Dillon, who is Teagasc Moorepark's head of animal and grassland research.
The country's cow herd produced 7.5 billion litres of the 'white gold' last year - a 53.5pc increase on the 4.9 billion litres that was the baseline for the ambitious FoodHarvest 2020 roadmap for the industry.
Even in 2018, when massive snowfalls saw farmers unable to milk cows and struggling to cope in harsh conditions, the country's expanding dairy herd still recorded a 4pc rise.