Farmers out of pocket after IB error?

By Vicky Houchin

FARMERS who purchased milk quota as a result of Aprils high production figures may have done so unnecessarily due to an error made by the Intervention Board (IB).

The error resulted in the IB releasing data showing April production 25.2 million litres above the correct figure of 1248.9 million litres.

As a result of what looked like strong production at the start of the quota year, a number of farmers may have taken some cover at a higher price than they would usually, said Jim Leamon of Hamiltons national quota agents.

Last months figures may have influenced demand and held the prices higher, said Mr Leamon.

Mark Perry of ADAS Quota Direct agreed, saying that production is always a key factor in driving the market.

“It was a bit of a shock to be so far over in just one month so production could have had an impact in firming prices unnecessarily,” he added

As the quota market enters a traditionally quiet period traders say that they will be interested to see what quota prices do.

“Looking at quota values prices have already started to ease and there is adequate quota available on the market,” said one agent.

Quota values have dropped slightly at recent auctions and are now fetching less than on the open market. And traders say this is usually a fair guide as to what will happen to the price of quota.

A spokesman from the IB said that it regrets the error and has undertaken an immediate review of its procedures.

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