A controversial report that aims to standardise Ireland's fragmented dairy sector will be unveiled in Dublin next month.
The study has been carried out by a consultancy group in association with the Department of Agriculture and the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society. The authors have been examining the structure of the dairy industry in the Republic.
It will also identify market opportunities for dairy products and product options with a view to making recommendations to improve the industry's efficiency and long-term competitiveness.
At a recent conference held in Limerick, Michael Feeney, director of Enterprise Ireland, said that the product mix in the Republic's dairy sector had historically been influenced far more by the subsidy regime than by actual market forces.
In future, the focus would be on the consumer as the key driver.
This meant that the industry would have to develop the capacity to adapt to changing consumer needs and also at competitive prices.
Delegates from the Republic's food and farming co-operative sector were told that the processing industry was currently made up of 36 co-operatives including 23 milk processors with seven milk processing sites, 15 butter plants, 13 powder plants, 10 cheese factories and seven casein plants.