Finance Ireland - a non-bank lender - has increased the maximum loan it can offer to dairy farmers by 66% to €500,000.

The loans, available through the lender’s Milkflex programme, are available unsecured, with repayments by farmers linked to milk prices.

Repayment schedules are reduced or paused following reductions in milk prices, while a sustained increase will see a temporary rise in repayments.

Milkflex was launched by Finance Ireland in 2016 in conjunction with Glanbia. The lending programme is now being offered to dairy farmers in partnership with 19 co-ops nationwide.

To date, Finance Ireland has loaned over €300m to farmers under the scheme.

Dairy demand

Finance Ireland’s agri managing director Conor Boyle said that the “demand for Milkflex loans from Irish dairy farmers continues to exceed our expectations”.

The interest rate charged on the loans has also been changed. For new applications, the rate will be one-month Euribor plus 4.50%, having previously been one-month Euribor plus 3.75%.

For loans approved but not yet drawn down, loans must be drawn by 15 November to avail of the old rate.

“We are delighted to be able to make these improvements, which will enable us to provide even greater support to more dairy farmers across the country,” Boyle said.