The announcement of grant aid for calf rearing equipment will not be of any benefit if the price of beef remains well below the cost of production, according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

Commenting on the announcement of the new €1.5 million scheme today, Thursday, December 19, ICSA president Edmond Phelan said:

“All grant aid is welcome for those who wish to invest in developing their farming activity. However, rearing calves at current beef prices is a complete waste of time.

I cannot understand how meat processors expect to keep their business viable long term while they allow farmers to lose a fortune supplying beef at €3.55.

Continuing, Phelan said: “The reality is that markets everywhere are buoyant on the back of protein scarcity in China.

“Even Brazilian beef price is getting close to Irish beef price now.

“If meat processors want farmers to rear the 2020 crop of dairy calves, then we need an immediate and substantial beef price rise in January,” the ICSA president stressed.

“Otherwise, the ICSA will be advising farmers that buying calves is a totally unprofitable endeavour and they would be well advised to hold onto their money,” Phelan concluded.