The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has called for Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to pay farmers at least €30/ewe and €200/cow through schemes that are easily accessible.

INHFA president Vincent Roddy outlined how Government inaction continues to undermine livestock sectors and warned of a very bleak autumn and winter if immediate action is not taken.

"In the last number of weeks, we have seen mart and factory prices tumble for both cattle and sheep and the fear is that this trend could continue," he argued.

This, he added, comes on the back of rising costs and concerns around fodder supplies.

Poor harvest

"These concerns are driven by poor harvest conditions and the potential cost of animal feed as uncertainty continues due to the war in Ukraine," he added.

For suckler, beef and sheep farmers, Roddy detailed how the overwhelming mood is one of despair, but also that there is a strong sense of betrayal, with many seeing Government inaction as a means of pushing them out.

"While the Minister and Government will no doubt refute this and point to the two suckler schemes and the sheep scheme they have put in place, these are totally inadequate and will do nothing to support farmer income.

“With delayed CAP payments this autumn and concern around the ability of the Department to make all of these payments on the dates outlined, there needs to be recognition at Government level of the precarious situation now facing many livestock farmers," he said.

The INHFA president also pointed to the wider economic benefits attributed to the suckler, beef and sheep sectors and the vital role our family farms have at the heart of rural communities.

"This is a defining moment for the Government. If they are not willing to provide immediate adequate support to these sectors, then it is not just the family farm that will suffer.

“Is the cabinet and all Government TDs and senators willing to back our farmers and the rural communities that they support or, by doing nothing, are they trying to encourage an exit from these sectors,” he stressed.