Sheep farmers have suffered an estimated €9 million slump in incomes so far this year because of the decline in prices, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

The IFA also believes that additional losses on sheep farms could total up to €1 million/week based on the price differential compared to last year.

According to Kevin Comiskey, IFA’s sheep chair, sheep farmers believe the government has turned its back on the sector.

He said prices to date average 64c/kg behind last year which is equivalent to €14/lamb.

Comiskey said sheep farmers have also lost an estimated €21/ewe which he warned has now placed farmers in a “critical loss-making situation”.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has, on a number of occasions, detailed how he has instructed his department to examine what further supports could be put in place for the sheep sector.

However, Minister McConalogue has not confirmed what form these supports could take and if the government will access the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) fund to devise a rescue package for the sheep sector. 


Comiskey has warned that some sheep farmers may now be running out of time while Minister McConalogue waits for feedback from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) on what supports could be made available.

“Since this crisis was brought to his attention, sheep farmers have lost a further €9 million from their incomes and we still haven’t had any commitment from him to provide the supports that are critical for the survival of the sector,” Comiskey said.

He said farmers need to see immediate action from the government and this includes “targeted supports” that would provide in the region of €30/ewe while store lamb finishers must be also be “directly supported for the key role they play in the sector”.

According to Comiskey, sheep farmers are now eagerly awaiting to hear what Minister McConalogue, his government colleagues and the DAFM will deliver as a “support package”.

Previously, Minister McConalogue told the Dáil that he had “provided significant support to the sector under the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), both through a new targeted scheme for sheep farmers – the Sheep Improvement Scheme (SIS) – and through the broad range of schemes in the CAP Strategic Plan”.

“More than 19,000 applications have been submitted to the new SIS. It replaces the previous Sheep Welfare Scheme and has a payment rate of €12/ewe. It is good to see its strong uptake among farmers,” he added.

Source : Getty Images /

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