Another bumper spring for Irish milk production?

Published 10 May 17

Irish milk production could be set for another strong spring peak, with national herd potential and pasture growth both looking robust. The latest figures show Ireland’s milk production in March was 4% higher than last year.

Heifers added to the herd in preparation for milk quota removal are now reaching their peak production years. The number of animals aged 4-6 years old surged by nearly a quarter between March 2015 and 2017, increasing Irish milk production potential.

Irish dairy cow population

Pasture is also shaping up reasonably well in Ireland, with recent warmer temperatures boosting growth. However, some areas are experiencing low soil moisture levels, which is limiting growth in parts.

If Irish milk production does have another strong spring, what might the impact on the UK dairy markets be? In short, it will depend what happens in the rest of Europe as well. Ireland contributes around 5% of total EU milk production, while the likes of Germany and France contribute around 20% each.

Unfortunately, official EU figures to date only go up to February, when milk production was running 4% down on the previous year. However, estimates for March suggest growth in milk production is beginning to close that gap, with volumes approaching last year’s level.