IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden said we are at a critical time of year for suckler and beef farmers when key decisions will determine the supply of beef for the next three years.
“These decisions require a commitment from the suckler farmer to maintain the cow until she has reared the calf to weaning in the back end of 2023, which is 18 months away.
“The uncertainty around availability and costs of inputs such as feed, fertiliser and fuel will play a huge role in this decision-making,” he said.
He said the sector must be supported directly as a matter of urgency to allow farmers plan the breeding season with confidence and ensure we do not lose any more critical mass in suckler cow numbers from the country.
Golden said contracted/guaranteed prices from factories for this autumn and next spring are needed, combined with direct financial supports to farmers rearing and finishing cattle for the back end of this year and early next year.
He said the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue must come forward immediately with a financial package for suckler farmers and cattle finishers from the €48m fund to allow key breeding and management decisions be taken that will maintain our supply chain of the highest quality beef in this critical time of food insecurity.
Government must act now to save the Irish pig sector
Pig farmers protested outside Agriculture House on Kildare Street last week to secure urgent action by Minister McConalogue as the sector’s future hangs in the balance.
IFA national pigs committee chair Roy Gallie said: “We are staring into the abyss here.
“Our pig sector is an important part of agriculture in this country, contributing nearly €1bn in exports.
“However, the sector cannot survive a projected loss of €160m in 2022.”
He said the situation could not be more stark: “We are caught in a devastating price/cost squeeze.
“Some farmers have already culled breeding sows and more are suspending production.
“They cannot produce with losses of over €50 per pig, and rising.
“If the Government wants a pig sector, it must act now. We are at the point where farmers are exiting. If more go, then the upstream and downstream businesses become unviable and then the sector will be gone. It is that serious.
Feed prices have been increasing relentlessly since mid-2021
“Teagasc has warned that 30% of producers could go to the wall if there isn’t further support. A combination of factors has led to large-scale losses on pig farms. Feed prices have been increasing relentlessly since mid-2021.
“However, the war in Ukraine has substantially exacerbated this issue. The pig sector is one of the most exposed to feed price increase as it constitutes of the cost base of an Irish pig farm,” Gallie said.