Irish dairy farmers are facing fines of more than €6m because of over-production this year.
To the end of September, production was already 0.42% (about four million litres) over quota for this year, according to Department of Agriculture figures, MEP Jim Higgins said.
Last year, Ireland narrowly escaped paying the super levy when poor weather conditions reduced the quantity of milk produced for the year, Mr Higgins said.
But in 2011, production was 1.05% over quota and cost farmers a €16.5m fine.
“The current quota surplus at 0.42% or just over 1,000 litres per supplier, may appear like a small amount, but at 28.68c per litre, it could result in a substantial penalty, one that many hard-pressed dairy farmers could do without,” he said.
Each farmer and co-op needed to do their part to stay within quota, the FG MEP said.
“We don’t want penalties imposed on progressive dairy farmers who are planning for expansion, growth and investment post-2015, but if we don’t respect our national quotas, that’s exactly what will happen,” he warned.
The milk quota regime, in place since 1984, ends at the end of Mar 2015 and will leave dairy farmers free to produce and export both to the rest of the EU as well as emerging markets, including Indonesia, China and Africa, Mr Higgins said.
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