Sheep farmers will be ‘wiped out’ if prices are cut further – ICSA

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmer’s Association (ICSA) has warned that sheep farmers will be ‘wiped out’ if prices are cut during the coming week.

Sean McNamara, the association’s sheep chairman, said that farmers wouldn’t be able to bear further cuts to prices in the short-term future.

“ICSA has protested on this matter and we have met Irish Country Meats on this matter. Our message is crystal clear; sheep farmers absolutely cannot bear more price cuts in the short to medium term,” said McNamara, speaking on Friday, May 31.

The average sheep farmer’s income in 2018 was €13,769; that’s down 21% on the previous year. If there are more price cuts in the coming week, we’ll be wiped out altogether. They have been warned.

McNamara also reminded farmers that, as of yesterday, Saturday, June 1, it is now mandatory for all sheep moving off farm to have electronic identification (EID) tags.

He explained that: ““As it stands, lambs that are not EID tagged will be sent home. Farmers must also bring their new version dispatch book, but they should also demand full printouts for the stock they have sold.

“This was promised to us and factories need to deliver on it,” McNamara argued.

The issue of EID tagging has been the cause of much discussion in recent months. Despite farmers being required to have these tags, marts and factories are not required to have the necessary technology for reading them.

Back in April, McNamara called this a “failed” project.

He had said that the “contentious” initiative should be scrapped, and that farmers should be paid back for “being forced to waste money” on tags.

“Farmers have no choice but to EID tag and bear this extra cost for absolutely no reason,” he argued.