The amount of SMP placed into public intervention by all 28 EU member states by 31 March 2016 is 103,749t, just a few thousand tonnes shy of the former maximum limit of 109,000t.

This limit was increased at the meeting of EU agriculture ministers on 14 March to 200,000t, meaning the intervention ceiling was almost doubled.

Given how close member states already are to the former ceiling, it seems the increase came just in time.

Ireland last used the support measure on 29 March 2016, when it placed 608t of SMP into intervention. So far this year Ireland has placed a total of 6,789t into public intervention.

For the whole of 2015 this amount was much lower at 1,843t.

Belgium is the highest user of public intervention for SMP so far this year, having placed a total of 22,273t of product into intervention by 31 March 2016.

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