In the submission, IFA Sheep Chairman Kevin Comiskey highlighted that the production cost increases sheep farmers are now exposed to have very serious consequences for the sector. The recent Situation and Outlook report issued by Teagasc clearly identifies the seriousness of the situation; the average income on sheep farms in 2022 is forecast to reduce by 20%, based on increased production costs of 30%.
In addition, there is also huge concern among sheep farmers for the store lamb trade later this year. Hill sheep farmers, in particular, depend heavily on this trade.
Sheep farmers do not have the resources or the capacity in their income to take on the costs now associated with producing sheep meat. The sector already has challenges in providing a year-round supply of sheep meat for key customers and forced changes due to the affordability of inputs could compound the situation.
The sector is at a critical juncture as sheep farmers look to plan for the coming years, and without support from Government, the sheep sector is vulnerable.