EU set to cut milk production

European Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan agrees with temporary, voluntary cuts...

The European Union is looking for temporary cuts in milk production in an attempt to help prices in the dairy market.

The move comes less than a year after EU quotas were abolished. Since that April 2015 decision, prices have collapsed.

The European Commission is now sending member states a proposal, as an emergency exception to rules guaranteeing competition, in an effort to correct the slump. France has been vocal in its desire for supply management measures.

EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan told agriculture ministers in a meeting in Brussels today:

"I am prepared to propose the application of such rules whereby the Commission... Would decide to permit on a temporary basis such voluntary agreements for the dairy sector," he said.

"The full modalities of this measure have yet to be finalised by the Commission and I expect that we will be in a position to communicate these to MS (member states) very shortly."

In constrast, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney and the Irish delegation declared in a submission prior to the meeting that regulating supply was not appropriate.

Irish farmers currently receive approximately 24 cent for every litre produced, four cents below the break-even cost.