Speaking at the IFA AGM in Dublin this week, IFA President, Joe Healy, said the suckler cow herd is a vital national asset. To underline the importance of the national herd, IFA will commission a new study to quantify its contribution to the rural economy.
This will form an important element of an intensified IFA campaign on sucklers over the coming months in the lead up to the next Budget and also feed into the CAP 2020 debate.
Mr Healy said instead of implementing policies to reduce the suckler herd, we need initiatives, including increased direct payments, to maintain and enhance it. He said “I’m re-stating here today IFA’s demand for a payment of €200 per suckler cow”.
Also speaking at the IFA AGM, Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed, said he is supporting the herd by €300m in the BDGP scheme. He said he was committed to doing everything possible to support the suckler herd. In addition, he said he was open to considering how to better deliver for sucklers, particularly in the context of CAP 2020.
IFA National Livestock Chairperson, Angus Woods said the suckler cow herd is under intense pressure and it is abundantly clear that the sector needs additional supports. He said both suckler farmers and the quality beef cow herd are very resilient. He said over the last 10 years suckler numbers have remained reasonably stable.
The facts show that for 2016 suckler registrations are at 963,775 head, up 15,304 on the 2007 figures, from 10 years ago. Preliminary figures suggest suckler registrations are down 14,000 in 2017.