Farm­ers ‘on their knees’ as re­sult of in­creas­ing costs

THE FALL IN CAT­TLE PRICES COU­PLED WITH IN­CREASED COSTS AND SE­VERE WEATHER CON­DI­TIONS ARE CAUS­ING FI­NAN­CIAL PRES­SURES

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS - By ES­THER HAYDEN

WICK­LOW farmer An­gus Woods has said farm­ers are un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure this year which needs to be ad­dressed.

Speak­ing last week Mr Woods who is the IFA Na­tional Live­stock Chair­man An­gus Woods said live­stock farm­ers are un­der im­mense in­come pres­sure from fall­ing cat­tle prices, in­creased costs, se­vere weather con­di­tions all year and the ero­sion of di­rect pay­ments.

He said the in­come cri­sis in the live­stock sec­tor must be ur­gently ad­dressed by Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Michael Creed and he can­not al­low Bud­get 2019 pass with­out de­liv­er­ing on the IFA pro­posal for the in­tro­duc­tion of a €200 tar­geted pay­ment for suck­ler cows.

An­gus Woods said the Oc­to­ber Bud­get is Min­is­ter Creed’s last chance to de­liver on the €200 for suck­ler farm­ers, who are on their knees in terms of low in­comes and ris­ing costs.

He said con­fi­dence is at a very low ebb in the suck­ler sec­tor af­ter the hor­ren­dous year they have been through and are now fac­ing a very dif­fi­cult mar­ket sit­u­a­tion for the sale of wean­lings and stores.

In ad­di­tion to the €200 suck­ler cow pay­ment, the IFA Na­tional Live­stock Chair­man called on Min­is­ter Creed to show much more sup­port for the low in­come live­stock sec­tor.

He said the Min­is­ter needs to sup­port the live ex­port trade with ex­port credit in­sur­ance, mech­a­nisms to deal with cur­rency fluc­tu­a­tions and in­creased pro­mo­tions. He said the live trade is crit­i­cal for com­pe­ti­tion and ad­di­tional mar­ket out­lets.

An­gus Woods said there are live ex­port op­por­tu­ni­ties, which if fully pur­sued, would sig­nif­i­cantly boost the mart trade for store cat­tle and wean­lings.

‘Min­is­ter Creed has to show that the Gov­ern­ment is con­cerned about the in­come cri­sis in the live­stock sec­tor and take im­me­di­ate ac­tion on suck­lers and live ex­ports.’ He said the live trade to Spain has ma­jor po­ten­tial if fully de­vel­oped and sup­ported.

On the fin­ished cat­tle side, An­gus Woods said the fac­to­ries needed to sta­bilise and in­crease prices. He said this is pos­si­ble in view of the strong turn­around in cat­tle prices in our main ex­port mar­ket in the UK, where prices have in­creased by over 8p/kg in the last three weeks.

The Na­tional Live­stock Chair­man said fac­to­ries needed to se­ri­ously com­mit to win­ter fin­ish­ers and pro­vide con­tract ar­range­ments which will re­duce the risk and en­sure that there is a rea­son­able mar­gin for the fin­isher. He said there are some talks of con­tracts with in­di­vid­ual fac­to­ries and feed­ers. He said farm­ers look­ing at buy­ing cat­tle this au­tumn to feed over the win­ter months are not pre­pared to take on the risk in­volved on their own.

The IFA Live­stock Leader said price ar­range­ments and con­tracts which re­duce or elim­i­nate the risk are now typ­i­cal across sev­eral farm­ing sys­tems, in­clud­ing be­tween dairy farm­ers and their co-ops, and it should be no dif­fer­ent with meat fac­to­ries and their sup­pli­ers.

He said fac­to­ries are deal­ing with the same re­tail­ers and fi­nan­cial sus­tain­abil­ity was es­sen­tial to en­sure con­tin­ued sup­ply.

An­gus Woods said the cat­tle trade is at a crit­i­cal junc­ture and it is es­sen­tial that fac­to­ries re­spond pos­i­tively on prices and do not un­der­mine con­fi­dence fur­ther at this time.

An­gus Woods said fol­low­ing a num­ber of weeks of fall­ing prices in the UK, prices have turned and in­creased strongly for the last two weeks. UK cat­tle prices rose by 4p/kg in the week end­ing Au­gust 18 and an­other 4.3p/kg in week end­ing Au­gust 25.

He said against this back­ground in our ma­jor ex­port mar­ket, Ir­ish fac­to­ries were in a po­si­tion to sta­bilise and in­crease prices and he called on the fac­to­ries to show some com­mit­ment to their sup­pli­ers. He said UK steers were mak­ing £3.73/kg, which is the equiv­a­lent of €4.37/kg in­clud­ing vat at an ex­change rate of 90p/€.

An­gus Woods.

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