Plans to change beef indices will directly hit Clare farmers in pocket

–        ICBF plans proving controversial among farmers

–        Must be halted until proper consultation is carried out


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling on the Irish Cattle Breeders Federation (ICBF) to immediately halt controversial changes to beef indices that are disputed by the farming community.

“I recently met with members of the Clare Beef Plan Movement and have also had a lot of engagement through my office with farmers throughout the county on this matter,” said Deputy Crowe.

“I’m an organic farmer myself with a herd of Hereford and Shorthorn cattle and I am quite familiar with the devastating impact that these changes will have on the farm community in Clare.

“Whilst many parts of Ireland have a prominent diary industry, Co. Clare is very much considered to be the home of the suckler beef industry, with upwards of 85% of farming families involved in this enterprise.

“Many of these families have invested in bulls and breeding cattle that followed ICBF best advice over the years, so that an optimum animal can be bred leading to optimum replacement heifers.

“The suggested index changes that the ICBF are seeking to bring forward would utterly change how these animals are now rated and for many.

“This would lead to a collapse of income.

Crowe continued: “The consultation to date has been extremely poor and I also think it’s reasonable for people to question the scientific data that’s gone into this.

“Over the years, when index changes have been introduced to the dairy herd, there’s been a widespread analysis of herd data throughout the country whereas in this case, I understand that the farm data has only been collected from one system.

“This, in my opinion, makes it rather flawed and I think that the ICBF need to slow down this entire process and better engage with farming representative and breeding associations.

“I can only see some very small positives in the suggested changes.

“One of these is a new index being introduced to identify resilience to tuberculosis – apart from that, most of the changes herald bad news for farmers and this will be mostly felt in counties like Clare.