“With a 28.65 levy on every litre produced over quota, farmers will be hit with severe financial hardship if they incur the levy.”

This is according to ICMSA deputy president Pat McCormack, who raised concerns of scarce flexi-milk in the spring.

“Current perfect weather conditions are ensuring that cows are likely to be out on grass for up to another three-four weeks so production is unlikely to reduce in the short term unless farmers take the decision to dry off early,” he said.

“Obviously the situation will vary depending on which co-op the farmer is supplying, but co-ops that have been traditionally substantially under quota in the past, have increased milk supply in the last month closing the gap rapidly. The net effect means that flexi-milk will be very scarce in the spring and those farmers who are pushing on supply at the moment could take a severe financial hit,” the ICMSA deputy president added.

The total volume of milk supplies up to the end of September 2013, taking into account the relevant butterfat adjustment, has left Ireland 0.42 per cent over quota – the first time Ireland’s supply has exceeded quota this year. This compares to a position at the same point last year when Ireland was 2.14 per cent under quota. The Department of Agriculture made the announcement last week.

In an update, it said while the figures are not unexpected, given the very favourable milk production conditions that prevailed throughout the summer and early autumn, it is anxious to remind farmers of a possible superlevy fine.

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