One quarter of Ireland’s dairy farmers are taking part in the EU’s €150 million Milk Reduction Scheme.

They have applied to cut production by 74,225 tonnes in the next three months, compared to 2015 — an average of 17 tonnes (16,425 litres) across 4,447 farms.

The scheme has been almost fully subscribed already, with applications from farmers across the EU offering to reduce production in the final quarter of 2016 by 1.06 million tonnes (of the 1.07 million tonnes available).

The largest number of participating dairy farmers are in France (13,000), Germany (10,000), Ireland (4,447), and Austria and the Netherlands (both 4,000). 

In percentage participation rates, Ireland has a participation rate of 24 %, followed by Belgium and the Netherlands (both 22 %), France (19 %) and Portugal (17 %).

Total volume reductions applied for range from 286,000 tonnes in Germany, and over 100,000 tonnes in France and the UK, to less than 1,000 tonnes in Malta or Cyprus.

Commissioner Phil Hogan said, “The scheme has proven to be both very attractive and successful. It fully meets our expectations. 

"I am confident that this measure, allied to others included in the July and earlier packages, will contribute further to an already stabilising market situation in the European dairy market. I am particularly pleased at the level of participation among the main dairy producing Member States.”

More than 52,000 dairy farmers in 27 Member States applied to participate in the scheme, by offering to reduce production in the final quarter of 2016, relative to the same period last year. The volume reductions average 20 tonnes per applicant.

At the end of December, farmers will have 45 days to provide proof that they reduced production and, therefore qualify for the aid payment of €14 per 100kg of “reduction”.

Because the overall volume offered was marginally less than that available, there will be a second round for the remaining 1.1 per cent (11,407 tonnes of milk) for the period November 2016 to January 2017.

This second round will be open only to those who did not apply for participation in the first round.

The deadline for receipt of complete applications by the EU for the second round is October 12, 2016 (national deadlines may vary).

The Milk Reduction Scheme was announced by Commissioner Hogan at the July Agriculture Council as part of a €500 million aid package for the dairy sector, which included an emergency support package worth €350 million with designated envelopes for each Member State, and a number of market measures.


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