Brendan Reid, Carlow, Sheep

“Like every sector, there’s opportunity but the price of inputs at the minute is the killer. But you’d be optimistic [for the future] alright.

“The factories pulling [prices] at the minute doesn’t justify the price of inputs.

“There’s a want on lambs and there seems to be on sheep so it’s uncalled for really.”

Carlow sheep farmer Brendan Reid at the Tullamore Farm open day.

He said when it comes to emissions, “farmers are the custodians of the land”.

He warned that they are not getting credit for carbon sequestration on hedgerows and catch crops.

Jim and Pauline Sherlock at the Tullamore Farm open day.

Jim Sherlock, Monaghan Beef finisher

“The big man can go on smaller margins when he has more stock so he’s going to work alright. It’s the small man finishing 40 or 50 cattle a year. I’d say his future is getting limited. You’d want 200ac and to be finishing a minimum of 150 cattle a year.

“The higher price of beef kind of levelled [input costs] out but it’s very hard to know if that price is sustainable.

“Looking back on the last five years on emissions, they seem to be just moving figures. We certainly have to do something. Looking at the weather, [climate change] is coming and maybe it’s here already. But I don’t think they’re taking the right approach to farmers.”

Peter Maquire and son Ambrose at the Tullamore Farm open day.

Peter Maguire, Westmeath, Sucklers

“Prices have increased but the costs have increased. The jury is out.

“When we went into ?lockdown the greenhouse gases went down. We’d nice air, nice ozone and we still had the same number of cows. It was the cars off the roads and the planes out of the sky. Everybody has to play their part. I agree with that but they seem to emphasise farming and belching cows. There’s nothing given for the grass on the ground, the hedges that are growing, the trees. We have a bit of forestry and there doesn’t seem to be any credit for that.”

Co Laois suckler farmer William Graham has cut back on concentrate feeding to save costs.

Niall Stoddart, Galway, Beef

“Agriculture is not the problem. It’s a scapegoat to get their mind off fossil fuels. Go back to the early 1990s before REPS and AEOS and all that came in. Farming was slap dash that time. There was no rules or regulations but farmers have tidied up an awful lot since.

“It’s getting to the point now where guys are going to throw the towel in. I’m very tempted myself to throw the hat the whole way in. I’m in an area where there is a lot of dairy guys hungry for land. I could get €350 or €400 an acre and I wouldn’t get it for farming.

“The Greens are saying we are doing all this wrong. There were plans for all these solar panels back in 2014-2015 on. They haven’t come to fruition yet. Why not?”

Michelle Curley, Kildare, Sucklers

“Calf-to-beef and suckler farmer Michelle Curley said that while it won’t be for full-time farming, she does see a future in the beef sector for her children.

“It’ll be part-time, more environmentally linked in suckler and calf-to-beef, they kind of all have to work together.” She said rising input costs have led her to cut back on fertiliser use by 50%, but that she “still got the tonnage in the grass” this year.