140,000 fall in beef cows is a worrying sign

A DRAMATIC drop in suckler cow numbers across the country over the last six months of 2017 – down by nearly 140,000 – should be a wake-up call for everyone with an interest in Irish farming, a West of Ireland TD has warned.

According to Galway-Roscommon TD, Michael Fitzmaurice, the worrying trend in suckler cow numbers can be clearly gauged from a fall-off of 140,000 in suckler cow numbers from June 2017 to December 2017.

He said that news of the ‘staggering fall’ in suckler cow numbers had emerged in figures that he had secured from Agriculture Minister Michael Creed over the past week.

“The figures for the end of 2017, show the total number of suckler cows at 864,517 – down from 1,004,334 in June 17. The fall of almost 140,000 cows represents a 14% decline in six months and should be a wake-up call to all who care about the suckler cow industry,” said Deputy Fitzmaurice.

He warned that unless Minister Creed and the Dept. of Agriculture ‘intervened now’ – instead of waiting for the next CAP to be introduced – there would be no suckler industry left in Ireland to support.

“In many parts of the country the suckler cow is critical, especially in western areas which accounts for almost 60% of the total suckler cow numbers. In these areas the Minister and his Cabinet colleagues, need to understand the importance of the industry to the wider economy.

“This fall in numbers won’t just impact on farmers. In our meat factories, exports and marts,  it will mean 3000 a week less animals. This will impact on jobs in those factories, marts, co-op stores and the wider communities, which is why we need the Minister to act and clarify now, what supports is he willing to implement to stabilise and develop the industry,” said Deputy Fitzmaurice.