ICSA President Dermot Kelleher said the publication of the Teagasc National Farm Survey results for 2022 demonstrates the need for a complete re-think of agricultural policy in terms of support and also highlights the reality that cattle and sheep prices are not sustainable.
“It is really a wake-up call for policy makers when we see that dairy incomes increased by 50 per cent whereas suckler and sheep incomes fell by 13.4 per cent and 20.9 per cent respectively,” he said.
“Cattle feeding enterprises showed a small increase of 9 per cent but it’s a deceptive figure because it is built on previous year cattle purchases to some considerable extent”.
Mr Kelleher accused supermarkets of being “completely reckless” in maintaining unsustainable prices for beef and lamb.
“For example, supermarkets have doubled down on their traditional ‘two steaks for a tenner’ policy. In our view, this is not sustainable,” he said.
“Whereas dairy product prices increased notably on the shelves in 2022, there was no increase in beef or lamb prices. This is a really critical point now at a time when supermarkets are cutting prices again. Beef and lamb prices did not increase on the shelves and this must be addressed”.
The ICSA President said the association believes CAP and other support schemes were “clearly not fit for purpose” for the suckler and cattle sectors.
“It is now beyond question that something must be done for the sheep sector. ICSA’s campaign for the sheep sector is even more justified in the light of a 20 per cent drop in sheep farm incomes to an average of €16,454,” he said.
The ICSA has also called for an immediate decision in relation to the Budget allocation for a replacement scheme for the BEEP to support suckler farmers.
“If we want to meet our agricultural climate targets there must be direct support for the cattle and sheep sectors”.