Farm Ireland

Thursday 22 March 2018

Estimates vary over size of superlevy bill

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Dairy farmers are facing a potential superlevy bill of some €8.5m, based on the latest quota analysis from ICOS.

The country is on track to finish the 2011/2012 milk quota year 35m litres (0.6pc) over quota.

The latest ICOS analysis of milk supplies, based on 95pc of the national milk pool, indicates that Ireland will finish 35m litres over quota on March 31 this year.

The estimate is based on supply figures up to the end of December and projections of a similar intake for January, February and March as was supplied in the three-month period last year.

ICOS' George Kearns said a 10pc reduction in January-March supplies would result in an over-quota position of 18m litres (0.3pc over), which would halve the superlevy bill to €4.25m.

However, there is a clear disparity between the ICOS figures and Department of Agriculture predictions.

According to Department figures, Ireland was 0.08pc under quota on December 31.

Sources claimed that if milk supplies followed a similar pattern to last year, Ireland could finish the year 66m litres (1.3pc) over quota. This would equate to a massive superlevy fine of €18.5m for dairy farmers.

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Meanwhile, milk supplies during January did nothing to improve the outlook for the national quota position.


Dairygold was 23m litres (2.8pc) over quota at the end of January. A spokesman for the co-op said that while January supplies had fallen slightly compared to the same period last year, the co-op was expecting strong milk supplies during February and March.

He said it looked likely that Dairygold would remain over quota at the end of the year.

Glanbia was 4.1pc or 41.42m litres over quota to January 31, with Premier Dairies 1.4pc or 3.59m litres over. A Glanbia source admitted that the milk processor was unlikely to come in under quota and described the situation as "very serious".

Although milk supplies to Lakeland for January were up about 3pc on last year, the co-op is currently running on quota. The co-op is likely to remain on quota if milk supplies during February and March remain the same as last year, a spokesman said.

At the end of January, Kerry was running one million litres over quota. At the same time last year, the co-op was 38m litres under quota.

Town of Monaghan is running 1.5pc or 5m litres under quota, when January milk supplies are taken into account. A spokesman said that if milk supplies for February and March remained the same as last year, the co-op could finish the year under quota.

However, he added that the number of heifers calving down and weather could affect this.

Milk supplies to Connacht Gold are running 3pc under quota on a year-to-date basis, including January supplies.

Meanwhile, the latest CSO figures show that milk intake by co-ops during December totalled 145.2m litres, which was 17.6pc below the 2010 figure.

Total milk supplies for last year were 5,376.8m litres, 3.9pc up the previous 12 months.

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