Farm groups highlight risk from beef targets
New goals blasted as a threat to cattle prices and the SFP
FARM organisations have warned that new growth targets for the beef sector have the potential to tumble cattle prices and dilute single farm payments (SFP).
The Beef 2020 activation group report, headed up by former AIB man Michael Dowling, announced last week that targets for the sector could be doubled from 20pc to 40pc growth by the end of the decade.
However, the ICSA general secretary, Eddie Punch, said that farmers should pause to reflect on what has driven high prices this year.
"There are three factors: scarcity, scarcity and scarcity," he said.
He warned the weekly kill would have to increase by 8,000hd to an average 38,000hd to meet the new growth targets. Mr Punch said it was "beyond comprehension" that Ireland would undermine prices by flooding their market with extra beef.
Mr Punch also took aim at the group's recommendation that a substantial coupled payment would be needed for suckler farmers to retain suckler cow numbers.
He said he was "absolutely convinced" that the beef prices seen in recent months could not have happened if the old-style coupled supports were still in place.
"I cannot believe that we are falling back into the same trap of thinking that we can go back to coupled payments to artificially boost supply," Mr Punch said.