Current grain prices will leave farmers suffering major losses – IFA

The president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) visited tillage farmers in Co. Carlow today and called on grain merchants to pay sustainable prices this harvest.

The president made the visit to a county which was severely affected by drought this summer and is now seeing low crop yields as a result.

“The impact of a difficult winter followed by drought conditions in late spring has had a devastating effect, with instances of grain and straw yields dropping by as much as 70% on last season,” Cullinan stated.

There are similar situations right up through the midlands and into the east and north-east where growers, in some cases, have crops which are not worth harvesting.

He asked that Teagasc carries out an assessment of the ongoing harvest in these areas and noted that the Teagasc National Farm Survey shows that incomes on tillage farms fell by 15% in 2019 compared to 2018.

“Current grain prices being offered by the trade will leave farmers suffering further major losses this season. These prices must rise significantly just to cover production costs,” he said.

The price of quality assured Irish grain must not be undermined by the price of third-country feed-stuffs, which are not produced to the same environmental standards as Irish grain.

He emphasised the need for feed manufacturers and the malting sector to maximise their intake of Irish grain.

IFA Grain Committee chairperson Mark Browne called on the government to support the tillage sector.

“The area of Irish grain production is down 17% from 2012 and, without targeted measures and a strategic plan, this decline will continue,” Browne commented.

The sector contributes over €650 million of farm-gate value to the rural economy. It is of critical strategic importance to Ireland’s €13 billion livestock, dairy, food, drinks and mushroom export sectors.

“Irish tillage farmers were disproportionately affected by the last CAP and any further reduction in supports or increased regulation, without compensation under the new CAP 2020, will decimate the sector,” he concluded.