ICMSA president Pat McCormack has said that his farm organisation was not consulted on the condition to lower stocking rates in the nitrates derogation should water quality trends decline.

Last week, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said that he had consulted with farm organisations on the issue.

However, McCormack told the Irish Farmers Journal that he was adamant that had it been raised, he would “most certainly and categorically” have rejected the proposed cut.

He said had it been mentioned, ICMSA would have “pointed out to the minister that such a cut will, at a stroke, render a huge swathe of family dairy farms uneconomic and unviable.

“There’s actually no point in anyone pretending that this proposed cut wouldn’t completely undermine the very key group of family dairy farmers that are the backbone of our sector, in some cases forcing farmers to reduce their herd size by 33%,” he said.