Farmers count the cost of a bad year

Joe Healy: Urging farm families to attend Claremorris meeting.
Joe Healy: Urging farm families to attend Claremorris meeting.

FARMERS made a lot less money in 2018 as compared to the previous year – largely brought about by fodder crisis and a consequent increase in feed expenditure – the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) have confirmed.

According to IFA National President, Joe Healy, the CSO figures confirmed what every farmers knew about 2018 – namely that the severe weather ‘and political events’ had taken a heavy toll on farm income.

“The headline figure showing a decrease of 16% was largely driven by a substantial hike of over €350m on feed. A combination of the late, wet Spring, Storm Emma and the summer drought added significantly to costs on farms during 2018 and affected the bottom line income figure for farmers,” said Joe Healy.

One of the sectors to take the biggest ‘hit’ was cattle farming whose overall value fell by €100m caused by a fall in beef prices and also by far higher input costs due to the weather conditions.

“The €100m drop last year in cattle farming is just another indicator of the severe pressure on livestock farmers’ incomes, mostly from the uncertainty caused by Brexit. There has been no lift in the early part of this year and immediate political action is needed,” said Joe Healy.

He added that the fall in farm incomes underlined the importance of strong supports for Irish farmers in the new CAP that’s currently being negotiated. “Irish farmers need a strong CAP to survive,” said Joe Healy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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