Grain farming threatened
IFA national grain committee chairman, Colum McDonnell warns that the country's ability to produce grain is under threat due to current prices
11 September 2009
The Irish Farmers Association national grain committee chairman, Colum McDonnell has said that the future of grain production for many growers is in doubt, as annual crop returns will fall “significantly below” the cost of production for the second consecutive year.
According to the IFA, between 40,000 and 50,000 ha of land is estimated to have disappeared from grain production after last year’s harvest. “Most growers will lose between €40 to E50/tonne based on current indicated prices,” McDonnell said, adding: “Given today’s prices a similar amount of land could disappear for next year.”
He went on to say that Irish grain producer margins have been significantly eroded in recent years, the impact of which is compounded by the higher cost of fertiliser, seeds and chemicals in Ireland, which is eroding competitiveness.
“Twenty years ago two and a half tonnes of green grain would have paid for a tonne of seed. Input prices need to be brought into line with our competitors,” he stated.