‘The beef sector needs a rescue package’ – ICSA

It has been said that the Irish beef sector “is in need of a rescue package” from Brussels and calls have been made for the Government to “push strongly” for this.

President of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) Patrick Kent has called for the “immediate introduction” of a Brexit support package for Irish beef farmers.

He believes this is necessary because beef farmers “have struggled and are continuing to struggle” with the impact of Brexit uncertainty fallout.

He explained: “For beef producers, Brexit has already effectively happened.

While supports in the event of a no-deal Brexit have been mooted, the extension to October just prolongs the uncertainty.

Kent was addressing the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine on the future of the beef sector in the Context of Food Wise 2025 in the Dáil yesterday afternoon, Tuesday, April 17.

Continuing, Kent said: “The ICSA estimates that prime beef producers are losing almost €4 million a week on steers, heifers and young bulls compared to 2015, the last full year before Brexit.

The base price today of €3.70 for an R-grade steer is way below the real cost of production estimated to be at least €5/kg if we allow for a farmer’s own labour cost.

Kent said that a package from Brussels should be directly linked to cattle slaughtered by winter finishers.

“Their losses in terms of price compared to last year varies but is typically in the order of €75-100/head on heifers but can be as much as €200/head on a typical young bull with account taken of price cut and weight penalties,” Kent concluded.