Hundreds of dairy farmers are seeking milk quota to avoid super levy fines between now and 2015 in the latest round of the Department of Agriculture’s Milk Quota Trading Scheme.

Demand for milk quota is outstripping supply by more than 7:1 ahead of the latest round of the Department of Agriculture’s Milk Quota Trading Scheme. Some 480 farmers have applied to their co-ops to buy quota in the first two stages of the final trading scheme, compared to just 63 farmers who wanted to sell their quota.

The deadline for stage one quota exchange applications is close of business this Friday, October 11.

The results of this first stage are expected in early December.

According to the department, applicants who fail to have their milk quota needs satisfied under this stage will have an opportunity under stage two that will have a closing date of 7 January 2014.

“Other options available to milk purchasers who wish to acquire additional quota are: purchase of land and quota on the open market; purchase of quota only from a qualified relative; and lease of land and quota from a qualified relative,” it noted.

In addition to these options producers may acquire, on a temporary basis, additional quota under the Temporary Leasing Scheme that will run in each milk purchaser’s area both in this milk quota year and in the 2014/2015 milk quota year.

“I am aware that milk producers are probably experiencing a degree of frustration at present because their production capacity continues to be constrained by the quota regime,” Minister Simon Coveney TD noted in the Oireachtas recently. “I would urge them however to take the necessary steps to ensure they stay within their allocated milk quota, because indications at this stage are that Ireland’s quota may be exceeded at the end of this quota year.”