The Ag Climatise roadmap will “steamroll” the suckler sector and will result in a major reduction in stocking rates for 50,000 farmers, according to the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA).

INHFA president Colm O’Donnell said the Department of Agriculture, in the roadmap, has decided to attack the suckler sector, through the land type that these farms are on – peat-based agricultural soils.

The implementation of this roadmap will see a major reduction in stocking density for at least 50,000 farmers who currently farm on peat-based soils, he said, adding the “reduction will be seen on our hills and across our lowlands”.

“Sheep and, in particular, suckler numbers will be decimated in what will be the most radical change in land use policy in the last 150 years.”