Dairy cows feeding© Tim Scrivener

Dairy farmers have two weeks to apply for a EU dairy aid scheme, which pays producers to reduce milk deliveries.

The €150m (£127m) EU voluntary milk supply reduction programme is aimed at countering the oversupply of milk to help restore prices.

Farmers will be compensated if they reduce their production in any one of four separate three-month periods between October 2016 and March 2017.

See also: Get in quick to benefit from EU dairy scheme, farmers told

The scheme is expected to open on Sunday (11 September) when the legislation comes into operation.

Applications for aid from dairy farmers should be submitted to the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) who will administer the scheme on behalf of all UK regions.

Applications for the first reduction period, running from October to December 2016, must be submitted to the RPA by 21 September.

To apply for volume reduction, producers must plan to reduce their cows’ milk deliveries by at least 1,457 litres in the relevant reduction period.

Dairy producers must assess, on an individual basis, whether the scheme is of value to their business Graeme Kilpatrick, NFU Scotland

The maximum that can be applied for is a 50% reduction of the cows’ milk produced in the reference period.

Producers will be paid €14/100kg (£11.87/100kg) or €14.42/100 litres (£12.23/100 litres) for the amount of cows’ milk eligible for payment.

The exchange rate is that set by the European Central Bank on 31 August 2016. 

Assess business needs

The NFU said dairy farmers should assess their business needs before deciding to apply for the scheme.

Graeme Kilpatrick, NFU Scotland’s dairy committee chairman, said: “This package is a positive move for dairy farmers across the country who have been struggling for some time to survive.

“However, this funding in itself won’t solve the industry’s problems and we continue to liaise with various stakeholders to assess ways in which practices can be improved to the benefit of the industry.

“Dairy producers must assess, on an individual basis, whether the scheme is of value to their business.”

Applications for the scheme can be accessed via the RPA’s website.

Producers should ensure their applications are filled out correctly, submitted on time and have the relevant documents attached.

Otherwise, they could lose out on vital money.