€450m additional feed costs on farms this year is catastrophic - ICMSA

File photo
File photo
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Advance estimates from the CSO on the output, input and income in agriculture for 2018 show that they had to absorb additional feed costs of €450m this year, have been described by ICMSA as "catastrophic".

Commenting on the advance estimate President of ICMSA, Pat McCormack said that the 16.8 percent reduction in Operating Surplus highlights the exceptionally difficult year experienced by farmers with the impact of the severe weather conditions resulting in a 11.2pc increase in the cost of inputs.

“In terms of financial impact on farmers, the figures are catastrophic and show the cost of feed increasing by €450m and fertiliser by €60m.

"Those figures speak for themselves and from the perspective of our dairy farmer membership we have to factor-in the €122m reduction in the value of milk production to get an even more accurate idea of the challenge that Irish farming faced this year”,  said Mr McCormack.”

He said the figures are frightening but it’s the underlying message that’s more important.

"Our farming sector is completely exposed to abuse by links further along the supply-chain and to extreme weather with the result that farm income can fluctuate wildly from year-to-year. W

"We desperately and obviously need measures that can address that destructive cycle and a proven solution, the Farm Management Deposit Scheme, was offered to the Government well in time for Budget 2019 - which they astonishingly overlooked."

Farmers, he said, seem to have been abandoned to wild price and income volatility on both the input and output sides with only slow and tentative moves to stop their already low margins being eroded further by both processing and retail corporations.

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"It must be obvious to everyone looking at Irish farmers having to pay more than half a billion Euros in extra costs in just this year that this can’t go on and must lead to radical and long-overdue measures to tackle this completely unsustainable income volatility."

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