Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association (ICSA) suckler chairman Brendan McLaughlin has warned that the future of suckler farming is in danger after the findings of the latest Teagasc Profit Monitor report.
The report shows that only the top third of suckler farms generated a profit last year, on top of their premia. The bottom two-thirds were forced to subsidise their farms with premium payments.
McLaughlin said: "The latest results from Teagasc Profit Monitor are very worrying for suckler farmers.
"The price of fuel, feed and other expenses have risen substantially and farmers are finding themselves very stretched as a result.
"Measures to cut costs and improve efficiency on farms have been introduced but there is still a shortfall.
"Prices for quality weanlings will have to increase if suckler farming is to remain a viable option.
"This will mean that farmers who buy quality weanlings must receive viable beef prices at the other end.
"The future of suckler farming will be dependent on everybody, suckler producer and finisher, being properly compensated for their efforts."