Survey Shows Problems for NI Herd Numbers

by 5m Editor
26 February 2008, at 9:05am

NORTHERN IRELAND- The Ulster Farmers’ Union says the results of the December Agriculture Survey, published by DARD, highlight the tremendous problems faced by beef and pig sectors in the province.

The number of beef cows in Northern Ireland fell by nine per cent in the past year and the number of sows and gilts fell by eight per cent in the previous 12 months.

UFU President Kenneth Sharkey said that this sample survey is an interesting indicator of trends in the farming industry. Since CAP Reform and the decoupling of CAP support from production, farmers have much more flexibility in their business decisions.

"It is clear from this survey that during 2007, many suckler cow and pig producers have downsized their herds or ceased production. This has been our warning to processors and retailers for a long time. If producers aren’t paid sustainable prices they will not stay in the industry and consumers will be deprived of high quality local produce,” he added.

Around 19 per cent fewer prime cattle were slaughtered in Northern Ireland in January 2008, compared to January 2007. Many pig producers are also seriously considering de-stocking because of unsustainable prices.

"The retail sector must respond to this and look seriously at how to secure sustainable supplies of local produce which their customers are demanding,” said Mr Sharkey.

Further Reading

More information - You can read more on the DARD survey by clicking here.

5m Editor