Concerns raised if drystock farmers decide to ‘cash in’ on their fodder supplies

Drystock farmers who decide to “cash in” on their fodder supplies this winter and destock may find it difficult to get back in on the production line again, according to a former leader of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

Speaking with AgriLand recently, Albert Thompson – who formerly served as the president of the ICSA between 1996 and 1999 – indicated that drystock farmers need to carefully consider their options before making any decisions with regards to selling off fodder or reducing stock numbers.

The Laois man is of the opinion that meat factories are taking advantage of the situation, with some farmers being forced to send animals that aren’t fully fit to slaughter due to insufficient supplies of fodder or rising feed costs.

“It’s creating a surplus of beef and the factories are taking advantage of that. That is not a healthy climate for an industry that is trying to hold on people who are vulnerable.

I’m afraid that drystock farmers – in the current fodder climate, where prices are high – might be tempted to cash in on their fodder because of the vulnerability of the situation that they are in.

“If they cash in on some of their fodder, they may find themselves discommoded and it may be difficult to get themselves back in on the production chain again,” he said.

Thompson also warned that there may be some tax implications for farmers who decide to reduce stock numbers or sell off some fodder.

The former leader of the ICSA also noted that the beef industry still has “huge scope to become way more efficient” compared to the dairy industry.

In other ICSA news, the association celebrated its 25th anniversary celebrations in Kilkenny last Friday night (September 7). Both the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, addressed those in attendance.