Kerry milk suppliers to escape superlevy
Kerry Group's 4,000 dairy farmers have been given the green light to increase milk supplies for the last month of the quota year.
While the latest national figures indicate that a superlevy fine is almost inevitable, Kerry Group is estimated to be 3m gallons under quota to the end of this month.
Local farmers have been told that unprecedented milk supplies would be needed during March for the southern milk processor to go over quota.
Kerry farmers were informed of the revised quota situation last week and were given the go-ahead to drive on supplies for next month if they wanted.
However, a spokesman for Kerry Group pointed out that very few cows were out on grass in the southwest due to poor grazing conditions.
One industry source said Kerry officials had played a "very smart game" in the manner in which they had managed milk supplies through the year.
"Kerry maintained they were over quota right up to the end of December. This meant they took in very little milk during December and January and gave themselves some leeway for March," the source said.