Feb 212014

Commenting on the Preliminary Estimates of Output, Input and Income in Agriculture released by the CSO on Friday 21 Feb, the President of ICMSA, John Comer, noted that despite the fact that most observers would have considered 2013 to be an excellent year for agriculture, the actual 0.3% increase in operating surplus was very modest and reflected more accurately the severe strains and damage inflicted by the silage crisis. Mr Comer isolated two elements that were particularly interesting: Firstly was the dramatic increase in milk output as the weather improved and the Q1 damage inflicted by the silage crisis receded. “We see a milk output increase of 26.2% on 2012 which indicates our ability – once the underlying weather and price factors are in place – to ‘ramp-up’ milk production over an impressively short period. We do acknowledge the role that the stronger milk price played in the increase in operating surplus, but the ability to accelerate production once the milk price makes it worthwhile is notable and shows an ability to increase production in very close step to underlying favourable conditions that augurs well for the post-quota scene and should be well noted by the processors – if they pay the price then we’ll produce the milk. Against that, it’s impossible not to be worried by the continuing – and largely ignored by successive Government – trend that sees inordinate input costs inflation go unchecked. Farmers will look immediately at the increase in feedstuff costs of 12.1% or €174.9 million and attribute that to the silage crisis, but they will also look anxiously as the nearly €613 million spent on fertilizers in 2013 and note that cost was up 24.6% on 2012. ICMSA has drawn attention on numerous occasions to the startling, long-term, upward trend of fertilizer costs which we would estimate at in excess of 45% over an 8 to 10 year period”, said Mr Comer.


Ends                     21 February 2014.

John Comer, 087-2057846

President, ICMSA.


Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office