AP – Competitiveness Of Milk Production In Ireland
This paper seeks to examine the competitiveness of milk production at farm level in Northern and Southern Ireland where different dairying regimes have existed in relation to milk quota policy. Competitiveness is a comparative concept and thus the profitability of dairy farms has been compared with the average wage rate in the country. Full economic costs of milk production in Ireland have also been examined. Data from dairy farms is collected in two separate on-line benchmarking databases in Ireland – e-profit monitor in the Republic of Ireland and Dairy Benchmarking in Northern Ireland. Results from these systems have been compared to those from other countries through European Dairy Farmers (EDF) (the authors represent their countries on the EDF Scientists Team for Research and Analysis). E-profit monitor includes approximately 8% of the dairy cows in Southern Ireland while the equivalent figure for Dairy Benchmarking in Northern Ireland is 10%. Results have shown that Irish cash costs per litre of milk (both North and South) are competitive in Europe. If imputed charges for owned land, capital and family labour are applied, the competitive advantage of Irish milk production is less pronounced.
Keywords: milk production, competitiveness.