IFA Sheep Chairman Kevin Comiskey said a further €9m has been wiped off sheep farmers’ incomes already in 2023 as prices to date average 64c/kg behind last year. This is €14 a lamb or €9m when applied over the lamb and hogget kill to the end of March.
The Teagasc report from 2022 showed how critical the situation was last year with margins slashed by over 80% to just €7/ewe, which included the Sheep Welfare Payment.
He said at 1.5 lambs per ewe, sheep farmers have lost a further €21/ewe, pushing the sector into a critical loss-making situation which is not sustainable.
Kevin Comiskey said the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue told us he had asked his officials to look into what supports could be provided for the sector.
“Since this crisis was brought to his attention, sheep farmers have lost a further €9m from their incomes and we still haven’t had any commitment from him to provide the supports that are critical for the survival of the sector,” he said.
Kevin Comiskey said sheep farmers need to see what Government are prepared to do to support the sector in this crisis and we need to see it now. Additional losses on sheep farms are now approaching €1m a week based on the price differential with last year. This is not sustainable and it is not acceptable that Government has turned their back on the sector.
Targeted supports for sheep farmers must be built to €30/ewe and store lamb finishers must be directly supported for the key role they play in the sector.
Kevin Comiskey said sheep farmers up till now have put forward the facts of the crisis in the sector in a very constructive and reasonable manner while allowing the Minister, his Government colleagues and Department of Agriculture officials put in place a support package. The Minister and his colleagues must now come forward with their proposals.
The IFA Sheep Chairman said there will be no hiding place for Government TDs from sheep farmers in their constituencies if this crisis is not immediately addressed.