Belfast Telegraph

Home Business Brexit

Ulster Farmers' Union rubbishes claims of no-deal Brexit cattle cull

It has been reported 45,000 dairy cows could be culled in the event of a no-deal Brexit
It has been reported 45,000 dairy cows could be culled in the event of a no-deal Brexit

The Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU) has moved to dispel claims that 45,000 dairy cows in Northern Ireland could be culled as a result of a no-deal Brexit.

Brexit briefing Newsletter

The Belfast Telegraph's latest Brexit briefing, plus opinion and analysis

On Wednesday night, BBC Newsnight reported that senior industry figures believe the mass culling could happened if higher tariffs are applied to British milk.

According to Newsnight, the fear among Northern Ireland dairy farmers is that, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, trading relationships across the border could become difficult and the province would be left with gallons of milk it won't be able to process or sell.

Around 800 million litres of milk are transferred from Northern Ireland to the Republic for processing every year.

UFU president Ivor Ferguson branded the notion of culling 45,000 cows "scare tactics" and said the figure was "plucked out of the air".

"We certainly don't anticipate culling dairy cows," he told the BBC.

"I don't agree with it and nobody in the Ulster Farmers' Union would agree with it."

Sign In

Mr Ferguson did, however, reaffirm the UFU's position that a no-deal Brexit would be "disastrous" for Northern Ireland farmers.

"Farmers' reserves are at their lowest now because farming hasn't been profitable this year in a lot of the sectors," he said.

"If milk had to face a tariff, the only way that milk would go across the border would be if the government stepped up and paid a tariff, and that's assuming the Republic of Ireland would accept the milk.

"We are asking for advice on how to handle this."

Belfast Telegraph Digital