Suckler and Cattle Farmers Most Exposed by Inputs Increases

IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said the updated Outlook for 2022 published by Teagasc today clearly sets out the challenges for the suckler and beef sector and the urgent need for immediate action from the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to support farmers in our most vulnerable sectors.

Suckler and beef farms are facing a significant drop in income this year which will have severe implications for the sector if urgent supports are not provided.

“Production costs on suckler and finishing farms are projected to increase by 24% and 30% respectively,” Brendan Golden said.

The report finds costs will outstrip any price increase.  Farmers are already seeing this on the ground as beef prices fail to keep pace with input inflation.

“The low income suckler and beef sector does not have the capacity to absorb this level of disruption. The Minister for Agriculture must come forward with immediate direct supports and commitments for the sector to off-set these production cost increases and uncertainties to allow suckler and beef farmers plan with confidence for this year and into the future,” he said.

BEAM monies clawed back from suckler and beef farmers must be utilised as part of the direct financial support package for suckler and beef farmers.

The Brexit Adjustment Reserve and the Crisis Fund must be utilised and targeted directly to suckler and beef farmers who are the most exposed to the impacts of Brexit.

The livestock sector is a low-income sector dependent on direct payments for 160% of FFI.  Recent developments place even more significance on the value of these supports and bring the flawed CAP policy sharply into focus where our most productive suckler and beef farmers will see their payments slashed in 2023 if not amended.

“Suckler and beef farmers have already felt the impact of sterling volatility following the Brexit vote and market disruption from stockpiling of products in December 2020 which led to beef price drops in early 2021,” he said.

Brendan Golden also said meat factories must return the full value of the current buoyant beef trade in prices, there is no justification for our beef price stagnation when prices in our key export markets continue to surge ahead. Meat factories must also come forward with commitments to cattle finishers on price for this Autumn and into 2023.

“It is critical suckler and beef farmers are given a clear signal of short, medium and longer-term support to continue to produce beef at the highest animal welfare and environmental standards,” he concluded.

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