Thieves are increasingly targeting farms for manhole covers, machinery, and metal fixings.
Now farmers want garda officers posted at recycling centres to prevent thieves from selling on stolen metals.
Last night, the president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), Jackie Cahill, said farmers across the country were suffering from the activities of roaming thieves.
Mr Cahill said the ICMSA was bombarded by complaints from farmers about "wholesale pillaging" of their property.
Farmers say expensive machinery, gates, metal fixings and manhole covers have all been stolen and sold on to recycling centres by the thieves.
"We have groups arriving in vans and proceeding to steal whatever they want or whatever they estimate they'll be able to sell on," Mr Cahill said.
Gardai have acknowledged that there has been an increase in recent months in reported thefts from farmyards and materials that can be sold for scrap.
"What is causing us such concern is that they (the thieves) seem to be able to convert into cash whatever it is they steal without any bother at all," Mr Cahill said.
"The reality is that all of this stolen scrap is being taken in by commercial recycling centres that are simply paying cash over the counter."
Mr Cahill said he was contacting the Garda Commissioner this week to request that officers become a more regular presence at commercial recycling centres.
The Metal Recycling Association of Ireland, whose members include some of the country's largest recycling companies, was uncontactable yesterday. Several leading firms were also contacted for comment, but none was forthcoming.