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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a fifth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the company in 2015.
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‘€2k beef bullock would only buy 1.8t of nitrogen’

ICSA: Farm costs must of a threat than Brexit 

The ICSA has said that “rocketing” farm input costs are now a bigger threat than Brexit, particularly for the sheep and cattle sectors.

The farm group made the claim this morning (Friday, April 22nd, 2022) following the most recent National Fodder and Food Security Committee meeting.

Farm costs 

The group’s beef chairman, Ed Graham, revealed he is not “satisfied” that the government is not taking the “appalling vista” drystock farmers are currently facing “seriously”.

“To date, nothing has been done to help beef, suckler, and sheep farmers,” he stated.

“Absolutely no real financial assistance has been forthcoming. This is despite repeated assurances that such assistance would be made available to offset spiralling input costs.”

“This crisis is bigger than Brexit in terms of the hit to farm incomes on cattle, sheep, and suckler farms.”

“We need real measures – that will have a real impact – if we are to prevent thousands of drystock farmers from going out of business,” he said.

Feed, fertiliser and fuel 

He believes that cattle and sheep farmers can take “zero” comfort from the establishment of a Fodder and Food Security Committee.

He stated the committee has failed to alleviate any difficulties around the affordability of feed, fuel, or fertiliser.

“While the dairy sector is being buoyed by significant price rises and any amount of assistance from the dairy processors, the same cannot be said for the drystock sector who are facing a complete collapse in incomes.”

The ICSA beef chair then commented on current beef and fertiliser prices. “Last year, a beef bullock worth €1,650 would buy 6t of 27% nitrogen at €275/t.”

“The equivalent animal [beef bullock] today worth €2,000 would buy just 1.8t of 27% nitrogen at €1,100,” he added.

2022 farm incomes

He said Teagasc was “very circumspect” in its updated Situation and Outlook for Agriculture 2022, which it published last week.

Graham said that “the stark reality was there in black and white”.

In essence, dairy incomes will remain steady while those of beef, suckler, and sheep farmers will fall.

He said the end result is that dairy farmers look set to earn 10-15 times more than sheep and cattle farmers in 2022.

“This minister and this government must face up to the fact that the beef, suckler, and sheep sectors are much more vulnerable than the dairying sector,” he concluded.

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