IFA National Grain Chairman Liam Dunne said that Irish and European growers should park up the ploughs early this autumn and reduce sowings as a matter of urgency for the 2015 crop year. “This will send a strong message to speculative investors and other vested interests that farmers are not prepared to supply grain at prices that are below the cost of production. Tightening up supplies across the EU will lend critical support to old and new crop prices.”
The country’s 12,000 tillage farmers produce 2.4 million tonnes of cereals and protein crops each year from 300,000 hectares.
Mr Dunne said, “Despite good yields, growers are going through a very difficult year financially as current prices are significantly below the cost of production. In addition, increased bureaucracy arising out of greening requirements and converging payments will negatively impact on competitiveness and threatens the viability of Europe’s arable crop sector”.
He said, “EU Commissioner designate Phil Hogan must as a matter of priority realign CAP policy so that it can deliver viable incomes for family farms while addressing environmental issues. The current reform is flawed, ignores market realities and undermines sustainable crop production”.
“The trade, including plant protection product, machinery and fertiliser manufacturers, seed assemblers’ etc. need to take a longer term view, as in most cases the viability of their businesses is inextricably linked to the health of the tillage sector. They need to recognise the gravity of the current situation, cut their margins accordingly and pass back savings to growers for the current season. Longer term, there needs to be a serious realignment of input costs to reflect substantially-reduced grain prices”.