Irish consumers drink 138L of milk a year, but warned not to take supply of fresh milk for granted

Today is World Milk Day and IFA National Liquid Milk Chairman John Finn has urged consumers to value the locally produced fresh milk they expect to find on their supermarket shelves every day.

“Irish consumers are among the highest consumers of fresh milk in the world, consuming 138 litres per year, per head. We ‘drink’, rather than ‘eat’ our dairy intake, and unlike many Europeans, we drink fresh pasteurised, not UHT (sterilised) milk,” Mr Finn said.

“The Irish market for fresh milk is hugely valuable, at €530m, and is an important part of our otherwise export dominated national dairy sector,” he added.

Fresh milk requires specialised production

There are just 1,800 farmers who supply fresh milk, which ends up on supermarket shelves and according to Finn, the country is lucky to have them.

“We are very fortunate to have around 1,800 milk producers who have specialised to make sure that we can find a carton or a bottle of locally produced, high quality fresh milk for our tea and our cereals in every shop every day of the year, including on Christmas day.

“Our producers of fresh milk work hard to serve us: instead of calving all their cows in spring and taking a break in production for two months each winter, they calve a portion of their herds in autumn and milk cows year-round.

“This specialised production system is more costly, and many farmers are walking away from because it is demanding year-round and not well enough remunerated relative to the export-oriented spring milk production system.

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“So, it is important that retailers and consumers would understand that farmers need to be paid a sustainable price for their fresh milk, especially over the costly winter months, to ensure that they can continue to supply the quality product we have all come to take for granted year-round.”

Online Editors