Of the farmers interested in the mooted cow cull scheme, a significant proportion of them could be located along the west coast, Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) president Pat McCormack has said.
McCormack said that there may be another cohort of farmers who would be interested in the reduction element of the scheme because they’re under environmental pressure as a result of the potential drop in derogation from 250kg organic N/ha to 220kg N/ha.
McCormack was speaking at a meeting of Tipperary ICMSA in the Horse and Jockey Hotel in Thurles on Tuesday night, where issues such as derogation, current milk price and the incoming fertiliser register dominated discussions.
There are currently 955 herds registered in the country with between one and 25 dairy cows, which McCormack described as “substantial enough”.
"A lot of those would be Kerry suppliers and Aurivo suppliers - there'd be others pocketed in and out throughout the country,” he said.
There are 2,644 dairy farmers with between 25 and 50 cows, 6,176 farmers with between 50 and 100 cows and 4,769 farmers with between 100 and 200 cows.
There are another 1,429 farmers with in excess of 200 cows.
“The challenge is that we’ve met with the Minister last week, there’s no budget put aside - we need to see fresh money coming in because this is an environmental ask. It has to be money outside the agricultural budget,” he told the Irish Farmers Journal.
Having met with the Minister, he said that he’s “not so sure” that there’s a willingness to put funding in place.
“It’s very hard to see one in place for 2024,. I think he [the Minister] will let the 220 [kg organic nitrogen limit] do its job and then it’ll be voluntary after that,” he said.