IFA President Joe Healy has said that based on tighter cattle supplies than originally forecast, the outlook for the autumn cattle situation looks better. He said despite the change in Sterling since Brexit, cattle prices in the UK have increased by 32p/kg since May 1st, or 39c/kg at the current exchange rate.
On cattle numbers available for slaughter, Joe Healy said the latest AIMs data for June 1st. presented by Bord Bia show that beef cattle numbers in the 24 to 36 month age category are much tighter than previously anticipated, and are down 44,000 head compared to last year.
Joe Healy said the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed must take decisive action to address the severe income difficulties on livestock farms this year. “Minister Creed must deliver real access to new markets and strong competition in the trade in order to return viable prices to farmers.”
The IFA President said practical measures are required to respond to the challenge of Brexit. With additional younger cattle numbers in the country he called on the Government to commit additional resources, in terms of manpower and funds, to secure greater market access for beef and live cattle. He said, “It is essential that more resources are provided to assist the live export trade and no effort can be spared to get the vitally important trade to Turkey moving as soon as possible. IFA has made it very clear to Minister Creed that a strong live export trade this autumn is essential for competition and to put a strong floor under weanling prices”.
In Budget 2017, National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said IFA is demanding an increase in support for our national suckler herd, which forms the basis of our 500,000t of quality beef exports. He said Minister Creed should immediately reopen the Beef Data and Genomics Scheme to farmers and provide an additional €25m in the Budget to increase payments to suckler farmers.
IFA is also insisting that the additional €25m allocated for ANCs payments is brought forward to Budget 2017, made available to farmers next year and not delayed until 2018 as currently planned.
Angus Woods said IFA has negotiated a 70% advance on the Basic Payment Scheme and higher advances for some RDP schemes for the autumn payment run. He said it is essential that the Department of Agriculture make all direct payments on time and in line with the deadlines set down in the Charter of Rights.