Will coupled payments help our finances?
One of the popular myths doing the rounds in farming at the moment is that the suckler herd is in decline.
In fact, the opposite is the case.
Since beef prices started their 30pc rise over the last two-and-a-half years, the suckler herd has followed suit.
So why is a coupled payment being touted to 'save' the suckler herd?
At this stage in the CAP reform debate, a coupled payment of something close to 7pc of the country's farm payment pot is a real possibility.
That equates to about €84m. If sheep farmers get €10/ewe, it would take about €24m of the total. That leaves €60m for the 1,116,587 suckler cows that calved here last year, or about €54/cow. In fact, with the last Department data showing a further increase in numbers during the first five months of 2013, this amount is likely to be closer to €50/cow if it comes in.
But would farmers really be better off if this payment was put in place?
With the typical payment for a suckler farmer at €400/ha, a 7pc slice of this to fund the coupled payment equates to €28/ha or a €1,120 cut for a 40ha farm.