As the dairy crisis continues across Europe, calls have now been made for the introduction of mandatory milk supply reduction if voluntary cuts proposed┬áby the European Commission don’t work.

Producer organisations and co-operatives in Europe can now voluntarily reduce or freeze supply, without competition implications.

The new rules mean funding may be provided by National Governments to milk suppliers who cut their production based on a reference point.

The European Milk Board said the measure should be coordinated on a central level and stated that voluntary production cuts only at producer organisation and co-operative level cannot stabilise the milk market.

“These measures cannot put an end to the crisis on the dairy market”, says EMB-President Romuald Schaber.

“For instance, we just received the information that in Germany some farmers will only receive 21c/kg for the milk they sold in February. Such a downward trend cannot be stopped by such soft measures,” he said.

The EMB criticised the Commission’s voluntary measure for not foresee a cap of production volumes for all producers during the period of voluntary production cuts.

As a result, it says the positive effect reached through the reduction of volumes will immediately be counteracted by the increase in production of other producers.

“If producer organisations and cooperatives have the choice whether or not to implement production cuts, their willingness to participate will vary significantly.

“The problem concerns the European market as a whole. Measures thus also need to be adapted to the market as a whole,” the EMB stated this week.

It said if after three months at the latest no clear effect of volume reductions is to be observed, a mandatory EU-wide reduction of production has to apply.

The Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney has said that he would opposes any moves in Europe towards a return to quotas for dairy farmers.