Strong action on suckler herd urged

IFA President John Bryan said the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney TD must take strong and decisive action to stabilise the national suckler cow herd, which he described as the jewel asset of the €2.3bn beef and livestock sector.

Speaking at the AIB National Livestock Show in Tullamore Co Offaly this morning said as part of the implementation of the CAP Reform agreement and Budget 2014 this October, the Minister must bring forward a strong suckler cow payment.

“There is intense economic pressure on the suckler cow herd at farm level as a result of severe income difficulties imposed from budget cuts on the farm schemes over the last number of years and the fodder crisis last spring. Budget cuts alone, involving the abolition of the suckler cow welfare scheme, cuts to the Disadvantage area scheme and REPS/AEOS, has hit suckler farm incomes by more than €130 per cow.”

The IFA leader said the pressure on cows was confirmed by the most recent ICBF data confirming a 29 per cent increase in beef cows leaving the national herd and a 7 per cent drop in calving’s to date this year.

“On top of this, there is widespread evidence that a very significant percentage of cows have not gone back in calf this spring. In addition, he said suckler dispersal sales are widespread in marts across the country.With a strong commitment from the Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD to protect the suckler herd, Minister Coveney must lead the way at the Cabinet table when the decisions around the Budget are made over the next two months. “The Minister cannot allow himself be left behind in the pre-Budget negotiations.”

Pictured is IFA President John Bryan