IRELAND – Farmers worried about being over quota must not panic sell milk to illegal unregistered buyers, advises the Irish Farmers Association (IFA).
Favourable summer and autumn production conditions have led to over production fears and potential opportunities for cheap dairy.
But selling over quota milk to unlicensed buyers opens farmers up to potentially very serious consequences, according to Association Dairy Committee Chairman, Kevin Kiersey.
As such, anyone approaching a dairy farmer trying to buy milk without a licence should be reported to the farmers’ cooperative and the Department of Agriculture.
He said adverts in the press had been opportunistically trying to buy knock-down price milk from super-levy pressured producers in recent days.
Last, week Mr Kiersey said: “I am quite clear that these operators are not working within the law and are being actively pursued by the authorities. Dairy farmers should have nothing to do with them.”
“Farmers who know at this point that their supplies will exceed the quota available to them should contact their advisor or their co-op for assistance with planning their way out of a potential superlevy fine,” he concluded.
On Friday, Agricultural Minister Simon Coveney announced that Irish milk production was likely to exceed quota limits for the year, given recent output lift.
Irish production was 0.9 per cent over quota for the end of October, which Mr Coveney said was not unexpected.
However, he warned that, despite last year's challenging weather and forage problems, Ireland finished 1.05 per cent over quota costing Irish farmers €16 million super levy.
He said: "The surge in milk production over the recent months is a reminder of the risk that the country could incur another milk super levy at the end of the current quota year and this could have very serious financial consequences for affected farmers."
He echoed IFA comments, stating that farmers should only sell milk through usual purchasers or risk punishment.