Up to 800 dairy farmers may be facing rejection of their milk supply in 2018 for failing to supply quality assurance certification for their herds to the processors.
By: Martin Ryan
Farmers who have not yet applied for audit despite a deadline of the end of 2017 are now facing penalties and ultimately rejection of milk supplies from their herds.
The scale of non-QA suppliers varies between co-op regions but all processors are now increasing pressure with an end of season target to achieve 100pc compliance.
An update on SDAS from Bord Bia shows that 15,643 suppliers have been fully certified, representing 87.9pc of all suppliers.
A further 1,100 suppliers are in the process of being audited and 240 have applied to the scheme.
Kerry Co-Op is the only manufacturing milk processor with 100pc of suppliers certified.
Producers have been coming under increasing pressure from their processors to have cetification by the end of 2017.
Many of the 820 suppliers who have yet to apply for certification are understood to be in the older generation and the expectation is that a majority of them are likely to cease production over the coming months.
Advisory staff from the processors have been in constant contact with farmers to assist them in meeting the standards required to qualify for certification.
The Bord Bia SDAS was developed in co-operation with milk producers, farm organisations, processors and regulatory authorities.
It has been designed to assist in securing new and existing markets for Irish dairy produce as farmers look to increase milk production in a post quota era.
It can therefore provide the necessary proof to customers of dairy products that milk has been produced under both Sustainability and Quality Assurance criteria.
The scheme is open to all milk producers with a valid herd registration, supplying milk processors in the Republic of Ireland.
To apply for membership the producer will complete an application form which can be returned to Bord Bia via their milk purchaser or directly to Bord Bia.
The application will then be evaluated and, as appropriate, a full independent audit of the milk producer may be carried out to evaluate the capability of the applicant to meet all the requirements of the Standard.
When the producer is deemed to have complied with the requirements of the Standard, the herd will be considered for certification under the Scheme.
When certified, the producer will be issued with a certificate for the herd which will be listed on the Bord Bia register/database.