ICSA: beef farmers will not countenance coupled support for dairy industry

30th August, 2013

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association says beef farmers will not countenance coupled support payments for the dairy industry, which has an average per-hectare income double that of the beef finishing industry.

ICSA beef committee chair, Edmond Phelan, said, “Beef farmers will not accept a cut of up to ten per cent on their Single Farm payment to subsidise a support payment for an industry that’s twice as profitable as their own. To suggest that dairy farms should be subsidised by the lower-income farm systems is an absolute nonsense.”

The Teagasc National Farm Survey shows that in 2012, the average income per hectare on a dairy farm was some €939 – double the average per hectare income on beef finishing farms (€419).

“As well as that, beef finishers with an above-average payment will take a much higher cut on average in the CAP redistribution as it stands. That has been accepted. However, they cannot afford to take on further reductions in their Single Farm Payment in the form of cuts to pay for coupled supports,” Mr Phelan added.

“It should also be borne in mind that cutting payments by up to ten per cent to re-introduce coupling is fundamentally flawed – as it simply means beef finishers will turn up to the mart with ten per cent less to spend on weanlings. It’s very straightforward: less money and less competition at the ringside will have a negative impact on weanling prices. The argument in favour of re-introducing coupled payments simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.”