The drop in milk volumes in 2023 was the equivalent of Ireland losing the milk pool of Aurivo Co-op, the Joint Committee on Agriculture heard last Wednesday.

The 4% fall in milk volumes last year, combined with milk volumes running 9% back to date in 2024, makes for “really scary figures”, said Conor Mulvihill, director of Dairy Industry Ireland (DII).

The fall in volumes will have a knock-on effect on production costs and how efficiently milk can be processed, and in turn this will be reflected in farmers’ milk cheques, Pat Sheahan, DII chair, told the committee.

“There’s a lot of capacity in terms of dryers of 6 tonnes and 8 tonnes – they become not viable to run with reduced volumes of milk so there will be potential casualties in that our costs of production are going to go up which will consequently come back into milk price,” Sheahan said.