Cork North West TD, Aindrias Moynihan has said that he is worried that the number of lambs born in 2018 will drop putting further financial pressure on farmers and potentially increasing prices for consumers.
Deputy Moynihan was commenting after a large number of local sheep farmers contacted him to say that scanning of ewes over the past number of weeks has shown a significant drop in the numbers of sheep in lamb, and to advise him of the potential threat to their income. Some farmers are reporting reductions in the region of 15-20% in their flocks.
“Many farmers believe that the poor weather that affected the country last year has contributed to this situation. I raised this issue with the Minister for Agriculture and I am disappointed by his response. It seems his approach is to wait and hope that the situation doesn’t arise. Many sheep farmers are making good use of the Sheep Welfare Scheme to secure scientific scanning of ewes to ascertain the numbers in lamb, the number of ewes with twins or triplets, and to then allocate feed appropriately.
“What these scans are showing many sheep farmers is that overall lamb numbers will be down in 2018 compared to previous years. This will cause significant financial distress to farmers, their families and to the wider rural communities. While prices for consumers may rise, farmers will not see any increase in their income.
“We need to remember that sheep farmers are predominantly located in economically disadvantaged areas already. Margins are already incredibly tight so any drop in farm income will be detrimental to them and their families.
“Minister Creed has an opportunity to get ahead of this potential crisis. Too many people’s livelihoods are at risk,” concluded Moynihan.