There will be no soft landing for the end of EU milk quotas according to Europe’s Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan.

He said the superlevy problem affects eight of the 28 Member States and the regulations are very clear. “Farmers must live within the rules. There is absolutely no scope for me to secure a butterfat adjustment on behalf of Irish farmers over the coming months.”

National milk allocations have, in fact, he said, been increased over recent years, specifically to provide Europe’s dairy farmers with a soft landing where quotas are concerned. And there is no scope to change the regulations that are currently in place.

“Farmers with quota challenges must look at the management practises they implement over the coming months. Drying off cows early is one of these options.”

The Commissioner made these comments while addressing an Irish media delegation in Brussels. Turning to the issue of future farmgate milk returns, Hogan stressed that Brussels will intervene at an early stage to support the market, should this be required.

“We responded quickly to support Baltic farmers in the wake of Russia’s decision to impose an EU food import ban earlier this year. And, yes, we have the market tools to intervene effectively on behalf of producers. But I do not see market conditions in 2015 being as bad as those encountered in 2009. So we are not looking at a meltdown scenario for the EU dairy sector over the coming months.”

Where beef is concerned Commissioner Hogan believes that the Irish processing sectors must seek to secure markets outside the EU.

“China and the US are the most obvious markets that can be targeted in this regard.

“The ongoing trade negotiations with the US are now at a critical stage. And agri food will play a key role within the overall process. But it has already been made clear to the US that Europe will not accept hormone beef.”