Ireland is a world class milk producing country, and farmers deserve a world class milk testing system which is centralised, independently operated and accredited to the best international standards.
Currently, milk is being tested by the same organisations which purchase it. This creates a potential problem, at least of perception, in that co-ops clearly have a vested interest in milk testing. Four co-ops now pay for milk through the A B-C formula, making compliance in milk testing more critical than ever. Independent, fully accredited, centralised milk testing can also deliver high quality on farm management information in real time, and can help monitor, breed out and eradicate animal diseases.
Further to IFA compaigning over the past four years, the Department of Agriculture is now routinely monitoring milk testing by co-ops every quarter. Results can be found here. Click here for link to DOA website.
SPLIT SAMPLING PROCEDURE
Disputes on milk testing arise from time to time and to try and help resolve them in the absence of fully accredited independent testing, IFA has agreed the following spliting sampling procedure with co-ops.
(click here for a copy of the detailed 11-point procedure)
PARTNERSHIP 2007 COMMITMENT: GREATER INVOLVEMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Further progress was made on milk testing, after IFA carried out a comprehensive milk testing survey in Limerick in the Summer of 2005
Click here for full details of the survey
Dairy Chairman Richard Kennedy, who carried out the said survey, obtained a commitment from Government in the "Towards 2016" Partnership Deal, that the Department of Agriculture would increase its involvement in checking and monitoring milk testing by co-ops to promote greater transparency. To make detailed recommendations on best international practice, Richard Kennedy and Catherine Lascurettes travelled to Denmark and the Netherlands to visit the central independent laboratories testing milk there. They also visited the Irish Reference laboratory in Moorepark, and some of our co-op labs, to compare standards.
Click here for full details of their findings