ICSA suckler Chairman Dermot Kelleher has questioned recent assertions by Meat Industry Ireland that adoption of the technologies recommended by Teagasc and the ICBF would deliver a more efficient and profitable beef farming sector into the future.
“At the Teagasc Open Day at Grange, figures showed that a farmer operating at a very high level of efficiency, with 70 sucklers on 40 hectares, can expect to generate no more than €100 per hectare net profit on this enterprise. Farmers cannot operate any more efficiently than they are doing,” said Mr Kelleher.
“Teagasc themselves recently confirmed that in 2013, suckler farmers lost an average of €123 per hectare. If suckler enterprises on good quality land can’t make money, what chancehave farmers on marginal land, regardless of how efficient they are?
“The elephant in the room here is that suckler farmers are simply not getting a high enough percentage of the final retail price to be profitable. What they really need is not a lecture on efficiency but a vibrant live export sector and the removal of arbitrary specification requirements such as the 380kg weight limit for quality continental bulls.”