Superlevy warning to Galway’s dairymen

Gerry Connors from Dangan, Offaly, keeps an eye on the ponies during the Ballinasloe Horse Fair. Picture: Hany Marzouk
Gerry Connors from Dangan, Offaly, keeps an eye on the ponies during the Ballinasloe Horse Fair. Picture: Hany Marzouk

DAIRY farmers in Galway have been asked this week to carry out a ‘root and branch’ review of their milk production levels as predictions harden about a serious superlevy bill landing at their doors next April.

Galway IFA Chairman and milk producer, Pat Murphy, told the Farming Tribune, that the only ‘hard and fast advice’ he could give to dairy farmers was to have a very close look at their own situations at a time when it is possible to cut down on production.

“None of us can see into the future but given the exceptionally good year we had from the points of view of weather and grass growth, it seems pretty certain that we will be looking at a major superlevy fine again this year.

“The last thing that any dairy farmer needs next year when they enter into the post-quota era is to be facing into a serious fine of 28.5c a litre for the extra milk that they produce.

“We all know that it doesn’t seem right or just to penalise farmers for producing top quality milk just as quotas are going to go anyway, but that’s the reality of the situation we’re facing into,” said Pat Murphy.

Last year, Irish farmers ended up paying a superlevy fine of €10.5m with Glanbia and Dairygold suppliers taking nearly 70% of the ‘hit’ – the main western co-ops of Arrabawn and Aurivo (formerly Connacht Gold), came in under-quota with no fines having to be paid.

However the situation is far different this year in the West, due again primarily to the very favourable weather and growing conditions that has led to milk production soaring in Galway and other western counties.

According to last week’s Irish Farmers Journal co-op survey of quota estimates to the end of September 2014, Arrabawn is 10% over-quota while Aurivo is 3% over-quota. Arrabawn has 980 milk suppliers, a sizeable number of them in the Galway region, while Aurivo, with 875 suppliers from a strong north-Connacht base, has also a significant number of Galway suppliers too.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.