Suppliers commit to dairy future

ALMOST THREE-QUARTERS of Irish dairy farmers supplying milk processor Glanbia wish to remain in production in the long term.

But to do so they will require easy access to additional quota – something that the current restructuring system does not allow.

Those were the main findings of a survey of all of Glanbia‘s 5181 suppliers, investigating their intentions following CAP reform.

With 2650 farmers responding, group managing director John Moloney said it was encouraging so many were committed to a future in dairying.

But to succeed they would have to increase their average production by around 50% over the next three years.

“This is not currently feasible without significant changes to the quota restructuring scheme.”

Glanbia has therefore already been in touch with agriculture minister Mary Coughlan with a proposed alternative.

This would see 70% of the quota surrendered by someone quitting milk production sold through a milk quota exchange.

The other 30% would continue to be sold through the restructuring scheme to priority cases, with prices dropping over three years.

This is similar to a recent proposal put forward by the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society.

The Glanbia survey also highlighted producer concerns about the impact of the forthcoming nitrates action programme, the need for more flexibility is setting up partnerships and problems of labour availability.

In respect of the Nitrates Directive, it found that 25% of respondents would have to get rid of 28% of their cows if the organic nitrogen limit of 170kg/ha were introduced.

“It is critically important that the derogation of 230kg/ha is achieved, as is achieving clearance for the use of earthen banks as a less expensive option for slurry storage,” said a Glanbia statement.

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