A collapse in milk supplies in the first quarter of the year has seen deliveries to the country’s main processors fall by as much as 8% to 10%.

The sharp fall-off in milk output comes on the back of this spring’s atrocious weather conditions.

Milk volumes to Kerry are down around 10% in the year to date versus the same period in 2023, and are currently 5% down on a weekly basis.

Milk supplies to Dairygold, year to date, are down 8% compared to 2023, and down 10% versus 2022. Week-to-week milk supplies to Dairygold are down 6% compared to 2023. Week-to-week milk supplies are back by around 10% over the past three weeks when compared to 2022.

Milk intakes at Tirlán are back 9% in the year to date when compared to 2023, and 6% to 8% on a week-to-week basis.

Lakeland Dairies said its total supply for the Republic and Northern Ireland was back 3% on a year-to-date basis compared to 2023, and is 5% back on 2022.

Week-to-week milk supplies to Lakeland are down 2% compared to 2023 and 3% compared to 2022.

Lakeland Dairies supplies on a year to date basis in the Republic of Ireland are back 6% on 2023 levels and back 8% on 2022. It is understood that supplies from Northern Ireland have increased this year.

The fall-off in milk output has been compounded by a sharp reduction in milk proteins, with many farmers struggling to reach the required level of 3.3% and thereby get base milk prices.

There are growing fears that milk output will not recover ahead of the peak supply period and intakes will therefore be deflated for the year.

Should output fail to bounce over the next six weeks, the total volume of milk processed this year could struggle to exceed 8bn litres. This would represent a massive fall on previous years.

Total milk output in 2023 was close to 8.5bn litres, and 8.865bn litres in 2022.