A recommendation within the interim report of the Food Vision beef and sheep group to introduce a suckler reduction scheme has been heavily criticised by farm organisations. It follows on from the dairy vision group where a similar proposal appeared to be put forward by the Department of Agriculture without any meaningful consultation with farmers. The approach does little to garner farmers support around what are highly sensitive policy issues.

However, the poor method of engagement should not prevent a proper discussion taking place on the pros and cons of a scheme that allows for a restructuring of the suckler herd. Regardless of whether a scheme is in place, there are a range of factors that are going to put real pressure on the suckler sector in the coming year.