January 16, 2012
Ireland's milk producers cancel production to elude super levy
In order to evade super levy next march, Irish milk producers are continuing to cut off production, said IFA National Dairy Committee chairman Kevin Kiersey.
Kiersey was speaking in relation to the CSO's milk output figures for November 2011, which shows that milk production was 21.6% down on the same month in 2010.
He stressed that January-November production was significantly up, over 4.8%, and the implications of such strong production increases for super levy earlier in the year was what had necessitated the drastic pull back in the back end.
"Despite this, it is unclear if the country as a whole can avoid a super levy fine by next March, and many farmers have already filled their entire annual quota, with no scope to deal with their normal early spring supplies. There is no room for complacency if we want to avoid a fine for this year," he said.
In response to media reports that French farmers have been told they could exceed their quota by 2% this year, Kiersey explained that this is not additional quota, but quota currently unfilled in France. He added France had ended the last quota year over 5% under quota.
"French farmers pay super levy as soon as they exceed their personal quota, even if milk supplies in their milk purchaser and in the country as a whole remain under quota. There is no such thing as flexi milk in France," he explained.
"Despite strong production increases, France remains under quota. Their minister for agriculture has simply advised farmers that they would be allowed a further 2% of production before they are charged super levy.
"This does not mean that any additional quota has been made available to France, but rather that farmers have been allowed greater leeway to fill more of the national quota," he said.