IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe said that farmers should be conscious that horse breeding is a highly skilled and a high-cost business that is very challenging for those already in the sector, particularly at the middle to lower end.
“While there are some very successful ventures at the elite end, many breeders of thoroughbreds and commercial sport horses that I know are struggling to make it pay,” he said.
“The message I would be getting is that Ireland already risks breeding too many foals, particularly at the middle and lower end of the market,” he said.
“The Minister should be looking to do more for people currently breeding horses rather than encouraging more people to breed foals which could undermine the supply and demand balance in the sector,” he said.
“In the last economic downturn, the horse sector took a huge hit. With the current challenges in the general economy, the sector could come under increased pressure again,” he said.
“There is a trend here of Green Party Ministers encouraging people to change their farming practices to niche activities which have very fragile markets,” he said.
Farmers that already have the experience and expertise in horse breeding and horse rearing must be supported as a first step.