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Talent drift into Ireland's dairying sector grows

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Trade is best in Leinster, with Munster reporting a slower start to the season at the auctions

Trade is best in Leinster, with Munster reporting a slower start to the season at the auctions

Trade is best in Leinster, with Munster reporting a slower start to the season at the auctions

The cream of Ireland's young farmers see little future in beef, and are turning their attention to dairying to secure their future in the agri-sector.

A survey of almost 250 entrants in the FBD Young Farmer of the Future competition that is being held this week showed that the majority believe there is no viable future for the suckler sector.

Of the farmers that offered an opinion, 45pc emphatically rejected the notion that Ireland's key suckler industry held any prospects.

In contrast, less than one in 10 of the dairy farmers competing in the Macra na Feirme-organised competition are considering changing to another sector.

Instead, almost three out of every four dairy participants are planning to increase their production in the three years after quotas cease next April. Almost 40pc are planning to increase output by more than 20pc during the same period.

And it looks like the talent drift from other sectors into dairying is set to accelerate, with over 60pc of all the non-dairying participants considering jumping onto the milk bandwagon.

The survey also suggests that despite the enthusiasm for dairying, Ireland's farmers of the future are wary of getting carried away with optimism, with almost 70pc agreeing that there is a price bubble in the milk sector at the moment.

Macra president, Kieran O'Dowd said that it was very worrying that young farmers see no future in suckler farming. "We have young, committed beef farmers and they need to see that there is a future in the industry otherwise the industry has no future," he said.

The survey also revealed that young farmers are not happy with the outcome of CAP reform in Ireland.

In reply to a question asking if they felt that the CAP reform was the fairest outcome for the majority of Irish farmers, just over 50pc answered no, while only one in four agreed with the statement. Another quarter of respondents said that they did not know if the reform brokered by the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, were fair.

The response was even stronger in relation to the deal that young farmers achieved out of the CAP reforms, with 56pc stating that the result was unfair.

Indo Farming