Further reduction in milk quota leeway in January

A FURTHER 1.5m gallons was wiped off the national quota leeway for milk producers in January.

After adjustment for butterfat, the country was 3.5m gallons under quota at the end of January, compared to 5m gallons under at the end of December.

A number of milk processors have alerted their suppliers to closely monitor their individual quota situations over the remainder of the quota year, which ends on March 31.

At Dairygold Co-op, intake for January was up 14% on January 2002, and February deliveries are 12% higher than last year.

Dairygold milk procurement sources are reasonably hopeful that they will end the year fractionally under quota, or just on quota.

But they are advising producers that the outcome will be entirely dependent on milk trends in the remaining weeks, and there is no margin for complacency.

Intake for January at Kerry Co-op pushed their position for the year to date 3m gallons over quota.

There has been some improvement during February, after which the co-op’s deliveries were only 2m gallons over quota.

That improvement is expected to continue through March, resulting in a final outcome “on quota” or very slightly over for the enlarged society, which now includes the former Golden Vale South area.

A routine warning has been issued to Glanbia milk suppliers not to switch milk supplies, in attempts to avoid superlevy penalties during the final weeks of the quota year.

Department of Agriculture inspectors are said to be closely watching throughout the country for switching, or any other quota irregularities.

Milk production in the west of Ireland is expected to be under quota because of the 2002 weather difficulties, providing a “cushion” for the national effort to avoid heavy superlevy penalties.

Meanwhile, individual producers who are under quota for the year will aim to include every drop of milk they produced to the end of this month in their 2002-2003 deliveries.

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