Farming

| 0.2°C Dublin

Poor weather puts us on course to miss milk quota

Ireland is set to fall short of its national milk quota by around 150m litres after poor weather conditions throughout the 2012/2013 took its toll on production.

Domestic milk intake by creameries fell by almost 10pc in February 2013 compared to February 2012, according to the most recent CSO milk supply figures.

Arctic weather conditions and poor grass growth are expected to have a similar effect on the final milk supply figures for March.

The majority of processors expect to finish the year under quota, with the notable exception of Glanbia.

Officials in the co-op estimate it will finish the year over quota by 1.1pc or 12m litres, while its Premier Dairies subsidiary will be under quota by 2.4pc or 7m litres.

A spokesman for Kerry estimated it would finish the year 6.5pc or 64m litres under quota, while Dairygold is expected to finish the year less than 1pc under quota on its 960m litre total quota.

The Connacht Gold undershoot is expected to be 6pc or 12-13m litres under, while Lakeland is expected to come under quota by 4pc or 18m litres.

Other co-ops to finish under quota are Arrabawn (2.5pc or 6m litres under), Town of Monaghan (1pc or 1.2m litres under) and Wexford Creameries (6pc or 4m litres under). In west Cork, Bandon is expected to exceed its quota by around 3pc or 2.7m litres, while Lisavaird is likely to finish 0.5pc under quota.

superlevy

Meanwhile, CSO figures show that butter production fell by over 20pc in February compared to the same month last year. Production fell to 5,900t for the month.

Dutch butter prices rose by €50/t in the past week, with a €50-€100/t increase recorded for skim milk powder and another €50-€150 for whole milk powder.

IFA president John Bryan called on co-ops to increase their March milk price to 34c/l plus VAT, in light of the reduced milk supplies in Ireland and Europe, as well as New Zealand.

"Farmers need a price incentive to help them maximise pre-peak supplies for the benefit of the entire sector," Mr Bryan said.

"In the absence of any superlevy risk this year, co-ops need to increase March milk prices strongly to optimise supplies and capture market share at high prices for 2013," he said.

Irish Independent