The store lamb trade will be the “first to suffer” the fertiliser and feed challenges brought about by the war in Ukraine, according to the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA).

IFA sheep chair Kevin Comiskey said the potential shortages in fertiliser and feed could have “very serious implications” for sheep farmers if the sector is not supported.

He warned that the store lamb trade is “dependent on grass supplies and will be the first to suffer if there is any reduction of grass production or redirection of land use over the year, or availability of compound feeds”.

Financial supports

Comiskey called for direct financial supports and incentives for sheep farmers for finishing store lambs for the coming year in light of their concerns.

He said: “We must have immediate direct support for sheep farmers to offset the costs of fertiliser, feed and fuel.

Availability and cost issues are causing huge concern for farmers. This is further compounded by increased contractor costs for silage making that will hit sheep farmers hard.

Low-income sector

“Farmers must be allowed use all lands at their disposal. Restrictions, in particular in the GLAS scheme, must be removed on wild bird cover, traditional hay meadows and low input grassland to ensure we can maximise our grass growth.”

The Leitrim farmer said that sheep farming is an “extremely low-income sector and the current levels of input cost increases cannot be absorbed on our farms”.

He said sheep farmers have been continuously told of the importance of guaranteed supplies of lamb for Ireland’s key export markets and therefore, supports must be introduced to avoid market disruption.

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