The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has pointed out that the preliminary estimates under the National Farm Survey indicate that the viability of cattle and sheep farms is “very precarious” at the moment.
The organisation’s president, Gabriel Gilmartin said that it was clear that there were a number of farms that were particularly vulnerable to cuts in direct payments, and he subsequently pointed to the importance of those payments to family farm income.
“Whereas direct payments contributed 32 per cent of dairy farm incomes, they account for 132 per cent of cattle, 118 per cent of suckler and 118 per cent of sheep incomes,” he added. “While the percentage fall in dairy incomes is highest at 24 per cent, the 8-11 per cent fall in cattle and sheep incomes is from a very low base.”
In conclusion Mr Gilmartin stated, “The reality is, that average incomes are €11,743, €17,621 and €16,898 on suckler, cattle and sheep farms respectively, compared with €51,648 for dairy farms”.