The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association has sounded a note of caution on the optimistic outlook for farming in 2014 presented by Teagasc earlier this week.
Speaking after the conference in Dublin, ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin welcomed the positive projections, but said the longer-term effects of this year’s fodder crisis are yet to be understood.
“While Teagasc are forecasting that lower input costs next year will drive an increase in gross margins across all systems, I am concerned that the impact of the fodder crisis will continue to unfold in 2014 and that the problems will be particularly acute on the low-margin enterprises such as suckling.
“Many of these farms had to take extreme measures to get through the early part of this year, including reducing stock numbers and increasing borrowings.
“If you had to sell off cows to cope with fodder shortage, then your output will be lower in the years ahead. This will obviously have a negative impact on family farm income figures next year,” he said.