By Miroslav Djuric, DVM, CAB International, Wallingford, UK.
Milk is the EU's number one agricultural product in terms of value, accounting for approximately 15% of agricultural output with approximately 148 million tonnes of cow milk produced in 2014. The dairy sector is also of significant economic and social importance in the EU, with over 650,000 specialised dairy farmers,almost 18 million dairy cows and 1.2 million people engaged in dairying (Eurostat census 2010).
The EU milk supply was managed for more than 30 years by the EU milk quota system which expired on 1 April 2015. This system provided a national quota and an individual quota fixed for each producer or purchaser, with a penalty (‘superlevy') payable by individual farmers and countries who exceeded their quotas.