IFA Sheep Committee Kevin Comiskey has called for immediate action to support sheep farmers in the current input costs crisis.
He said the updated report issued by Teagasc this week should focus the mind of the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue on the challenges faced by sheep farmers and the need for immediate interventions to support the sector.
“Sheep farmers are not seeing any increase in market prices come through compared to last year, but are dealing first hand with the impact of feed, fertiliser and fuel price increases on their farms,” he said.
Sheep prices to-date this year are running below 2021 levels. The most recent DAFM reported price of €7.19/kg is .5% below 2021 prices.
The IFA Sheep Chairman said the Teagasc report predicts production costs on sheep farms will increase by 30% this year, leading to a drop of 20% in family farm income on these farms.
He said the sheep sector is a vulnerable low-income sector dependent on direct payments for over 100% of FFI. Sheep farmers do not have the resources or the capacity in their income to take on the costs now associated with producing sheep meat.
There are also huge concerns among sheep farmers for the store lamb trade later this year.
Kevin Comiskey has called on the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and sheep factories to come forward with a number of measures and commitments as a matter of urgency to ensure sheep farmers can plan for the year ahead.