Beef farmers have incurred price losses of €101m since last autumn, according to calculations by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).
The IFA compared prices from 2015 (before the Brexit vote) to those received since autumn 2018.
The comparison was done across steers, heifers and young bulls, with prices based on Bord Bia's reported prices R3-graded cattle and )O3-graded cows while cows. Department of Agriculture weekly cattle kill figures and average carcase weights were also used in the calculations.
Angus Woods, IFA livestock chair said it was clear Brexit had already severely impacted the beef sector, with losses pushed down on top of farmers at the start of the food chain.
Woods said: “Irish beef farmers cannot carry a financial loss of €101m. These farm families have major financial bills with banks, merchants and others and they cannot be left hung out to dry.”
IFA president Joe Healy said Brexit had resulted in market uncertainty, changes to exchange rates and price cuts. This, he said, has left many farmers “facing financial ruin” as they were unable to carry the losses.
Healy said there was now a real test for the Government and the European Commission to deliver on promises made to farmers.
The IFA has written to both Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and European Commissioner Phil Hogan with details of the €101m losses.
“Farmers expect that they [the Government and EU] will honour the commitments they have made over the last number of months. They must now convert these commitments into real delivery and cover the Brexit losses farmers have already incurred to date,” Healy said.
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