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Aug 22, 2023 | Latest News, Press Releases | 0 comments

ICSA Suckler chair Jimmy Cosgrave has said suckler prices will have to be reset to take into account increased costs plus the fact that the average suckler only farmer makes around €9,000 per annum. “Suckler farmers have been hit hard with rising costs especially with the unsustainably low incomes in the sector. Both weanling prices and factory prices for suckler stock must be reset to reflect these facts,” he said.

Mr Cosgrave was reacting to comments made by Kepak’s Agriculture Director Jonathan Forbes at recent Kepak-organised farm walk.

“Mr Forbes spoke about lots of things resetting, from beef and sheep markets to feed prices. However, the only thing that needs to be reset are the prices suckler farmers are getting paid for their produce. While I welcome his acknowledgement of the importance of suckler bred stock in our beef supply chain the reality is that prices will have to increase for suckler farmers to stay going.”

Mr Cosgrave said it’s all very well Kepak advising farmers to ‘try and buy an animal that is going to return the best price in the market’ but their focus should be pointing the other way – towards markets. “€6m has been pumped into Bord Bia over the last three years to do research on a suckler premium brand. It’s about time the processors translated this research into a better price for suckler beef. Those markets where the research suggests a premium price can achieved need to be developed and the premium achieved must filter back to suckler farmers. We cannot allow this investment to go to waste.” 

He said the recent survey indicating that some 63% of suckler farmers would consider a reduction scheme should give all processors a reality check. “Low incomes and high costs are driving people out of suckler farming. Maintaining enough suckler farmers to service our beef industry will require Kepak – and all other processors – to find a way to pay for premium sucker beef.”


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