Irish exports of cheese to the UK fell significantly last year despite milk processors moving significant quantities in the later months of 2018 to avoid any post-Brexit risks.

In an outlook report for 2019, the UK‘s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) said that Irish-made cheddar stocks in the UK are high.

It said Irish cheddar is likely to be maturing in UK stores rather than maturing in Irish stores and noted that volume of Irish cheese ready for sale in 2019 would likely be no different to if this was being stored in Ireland.

Ireland produced more dairy products and exported more volume in 2018 than in any previous year, according to Bord Bia.

To the UK, dairy exports were valued at €1.03bn which was also a 6pc growth on 2017’s values.

Cheese is Ireland’s largest dairy export in terms of volume and exports in 2018 are valued at €800m, a 2pc reduction on 2017 with a 4.5pc decrease in volumes shipped.

Bord Bia said that production figures have not dropped and this suggests that the decline is due to stock holding.

It said reports suggest a significant move of stock to the UK towards the end of the year, but this did not counter the overall volume reduction. Overall, cheese exports to the UK were down 9pc in 2018.