With this in mind, Waterford IFA Sheep Chairman Ned Morrissey has issued a plea to dog owners to be extra vigilant when walking their animals over the next few weeks.
“We are approaching the critically important lambing period,” said the Dunhill-based farmer. “And a dog attack on a sheep flock at this time can inflict serious damage in terms of animal welfare and financial consequence.”
Mr Morrissey  appealed to dog owners to keep their pets under full control at all times and not allow them to roam freely in the countryside where they could inflict horrific damage on a sheep flock.
“Dog owners must be particularly vigilant in ensuring that their pets are securely housed at night,” he added.
“Dog attacks from a number of dogs hunting together at night is an all too common feature in the countryside at this time of the year.
“Dog owners should also be aware that under the ‘Control of Dogs Act’, they can be held liable for the financial damage inflicted on a sheep flock from an attack by their dog.”
Meanwhile an IFA official has claimed that fertiliser margins demanded by the trade this season are unsustainable and that a cartel is now operating to maintain artificially high prices.
According to Inputs Project Team Leader James Kane: “Fertiliser is the second biggest expenditure on most livestock farms after feed, and in the case of tillage farms it accounts for over 33 per cent of production costs…
“Irish farmers are being asked to pay considerably more for their fertiliser than their EU counterparts and this is severely eroding the competitiveness of Irish agriculture. The dramatic fall in international wholesale prices is clearly not being passed back to farmers.”
Added Mr Kane: “Farmers need to take more control of their businesses and eliminate unnecessary costs. There is no longer room for two margins. The supply chain has to be shortened and costs removed.
“A seismic shift in the way that farmers do business is happening arising out of the fertiliser debacle. More and more farmers are seeing the benefits of belonging to a purchasing group and this trend will accelerate over the coming years. We can no longer afford to pay retail prices for our inputs and take wholesale prices for our produce.”