'Rearing calves at current beef price waste of time' - ICSA

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Farming Independent Team

Farming Independent Team

ICSA president Edmond Phelan has said that the announcement of grant aid for calf rearing equipment will not be of any benefit if the price of beef remains well below the cost of production.

“All grant aid is welcome for those who wish to invest in developing their farming activity. However, rearing calves at current beef prices is a complete waste of time.”

“I cannot understand how meat processors expect to keep their business viable long- term while they allow farmers to lose a fortune supplying beef at €3.55.”

“The reality is that markets everywhere are buoyant on the back of protein scarcity in China. Even Brazilian beef price is getting close to Irish beef price now. If meat processors want farmers to rear the 2020 crop of dairy calves, then we need an immediate and substantial beef price rise in January. Otherwise ICSA will be advising farmers that buying calves is a totally unprofitable endeavour and they would be well advised to hold on to their money.”

Commenting on the announcement of a €1.5m support scheme for calf rearing designed to cover a 40% grant for computerised calf feeders, milk carts and calf pen dividers amongst other items, ICMSA President Pat McCormack welcomed the scheme but maintained that the scheme should be ‘demand-led’ with a fast-track approval system designed so that applicant farmers could be guaranteed approval within five days of application to ensure that the scheme can play a role in supporting the imminent calf-rearing 2020 season. 

IFA National Dairy Chairman Tom Phelan has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed of a €1.5m grant aid support package for calf feeding systems.

“It’s an important first step in helping farmers take their share of the responsibility in managing larger numbers of dairy calves from next spring. Our dairy calf policy document Managing Dairy Calves identified the need to provide financial support for farmers to set up additional facilities before next spring," Mr Phelan said.

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