Brendan Golden

IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden said the IFA had huge concerns about the proposed schemes.

“Yes, it’s a low-margin system and people are feeling the pinch and there is an aging profile, but we want younger people to take over. We’re looking to support the sector and the suckler cow. When this arose first, my phone nearly burned down at the thought of suckler cows being taken out.

“The core principle for me is that we want to maintain our production system. There was no funding for any schemes or proposed funding on the table at any stage and, if there was a buy-out, what would you do with your land?”


Dermot Kelleher.

ICSA president Dermot Kelleher has welcomed the news that there will be no suckler cull scheme.

“ICSA fought hard at the Food Vision beef group meetings to protect the suckler herd and it is good to see those efforts pay off. However, more needs to be done. ICSA met the Minister for Agriculture before Christmas and proposed a €250m per annum support programme for helping farmers to achieve climate targets. The ICSA proposed €80m for store producers and beef finishers for a scheme to weigh cattle at regular intervals with a view to earlier average finishing.

“ICSA also proposed an additional €60m for suckler farmers over and above what has been agreed in the CAP and promised in the budget.”


Pat McCormack.

ICMSA president Pat McCormack said that the ICMSA was disappointed with the withdrawal of the suckler reduction schemes.

He said that he knows suckler farmers would “have considered a viable and reasonably funded exit or reduction scheme for a fixed term.”

“It is absolutely imperative that the minister announces any dairy reduction scheme within the next month so that farmers are informed of his intentions before the breeding season for 2024 commences.

“There are dairy farmers waiting to make decisions about their own futures and that of their families and, in fairness to them, a decision with details on payment rates and timeframes is needed as soon as possible.”

He said any dairy reduction scheme will have to be voluntary and the payment rates need to reflect the income lost and an incentive to join the scheme.


Vincent Roddy.

The INHFA president Vincent Roddy (right) welcomed the decision to scrap the suckler cow cull schemes. “If introduced, it would do enormous reputational damage to our naturally reared suckler beef sector,” he said.

INHFA has called on the minister to use the money that would have been allocated to such schemes to go towards a “new welfare-type suckler scheme targeting extensive suckler systems”.

INHFA has also said it is concerned about reducing the age of slaughter to under 24 months.

It is “an immediate threat to suckler farmers with larger carcase breeds that cannot be finished at the ages proposed, but will also impact other areas of the beef industry by creating a glut of cattle for slaughter each spring”, he said.