10% feed and fertiliser hike
The latest CSO figures show continuing rises in input costs, but the prices paid to farmers are falling, cancelling all the margin potential gained in the past two years.

Feed, fertiliser and energy were 10% more expensive in November than during the same month in 2017, according to new statistics published by the CSO this Monday.

Compound feed was up 10.3% year on year, especially calf nuts (+12.4%).

Straights were even more expensive – 14% higher than the previous year.

The price of compound NPK fertilisers increased by 9.1% over the past year, while straight fertilisers jumped by 13.1%.

Electricity was up 3% year on year and motor fuels were 12% dearer – before the bulk of diesel price decreases observed this winter.

Overall, farm input costs were 6.7% higher than the year before, showing no sign of abating after 16 months of constant hikes.

Farmgate prices down

Meanwhile, prices paid to farmers fell by 2.7% year on year in November, dragged down by milk prices (-11.9%) and pig prices (-7.7%).

Cattle prices were down 4.3% over the same period.

A 38.6% improvement in crop prices, including a doubling in the price of potatoes, over the low levels since last year failed to offset the losses from the livestock sector.

The terms of trade, ie the space available for farmers to earn a margin between input and output costs, again fell by 1% in November.

While there had been improvements in the terms of trade since the end of 2016, with output prices growing faster than input costs, all these gains have now been erased.

Read more

Fertiliser prices to jump 16% next year – Teagasc

Listen: weather and feed dictate two years of farm incomes

Listen: farm incomes drop 15% – Teagasc

Beef and dairy bosses demand Brexit action from Creed
Imposing tariffs on exports would "cripple trade", meat and dairy factory representatives have warned.

Beef and dairy bosses braced for a hard Brexit have handed a list of demands to Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.

With 65 days remaining to salvage a Brexit deal, the nightmare scenario of a no-deal is becoming ever more likely.

A delegation including Aurivo’s Aaron Forde, ABP’s Martin Kane, Larry Murrin of Dawn Farms Foods, Cormac Healy of Meat Industry Ireland and Conor Mulvihill of Dairy Industry Ireland, met with Minister Creed on Tuesday.

Dairy co-ops want dual British-Irish status for Northern Ireland milk, export refunds and other trade supports. They called for a freeze on tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit and direct income aid for farmers.

Meat factory representatives warned that if tariffs are imposed on exports to the UK “it would cripple trade”, with the additional danger of sterling devaluation in a no-deal outcome.

They called for extra resources to ensure speedy border checks and increased ferry capacity and routes for direct shipping to the continent.

While European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan reassured farmers Brussels is poised to swoop to their aid, a Commission spokesman confirmed a hard border is inevitable unless the British reach an agreement with the EU or delay their withdrawal.

Read more

No-deal Brexit to add 21c/l in cheddar processing costs

EU 'stands ready' to support farmers - Hogan
European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has assured farmers that Europe is planning for all possible outcomes from Brexit negotiations.

European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has moved to reassure farmers that the EU stands ready to intervene in markets to protect prices in the event of a hard Brexit.

“We have to prepare for the worst. The European Union stands ready to help Irish and EU farmers in the event of a hard Brexit,” Commissioner Hogan said, addressing a crowd of more than 250 farmers at the Kilkenny IFA annual dinner dance on Saturday night.

“We have the tools ready to intervene, including Aid to Private Storage, intervention and a revision of state aid rules,” he added.


His words will help give farmers comfort that, while Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has been slow to commit to supports, plans for a safety net at EU level are well advanced.

Hogan reassured farmers that the EU is ready for all scenarios, but warned that the Government must also be ready and ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place to ensure products can continue to move through ports.


While a no-deal Brexit paints a gloomy picture, vice president of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness is reminding farmers that it could be avoided if a deal is reached between the EU and UK. But, she says, plans are being put in place to deal with a no-deal scenario.

“There are deep concerns about the consequences,” McGuinness told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“We will need to be looking at how you are going to support a vulnerable sector, that will call for money.

"All of those things will have to be discussed in the short period of time before the United Kingdom leaves.”

Lamb prices rocketing ahead
The trade for all types of lamb is strong currently boosting farmers' confidence in the sector.

Factory agents are scouring the country in the hunt for slaughter-fit lambs.

Prices have hardened significantly over the past number of weeks.

Farmers are securing €5.25/kg to €5.30/kg, with specialised feeders negotiating in excess of €5.40/kg for lambs.

The mart trade is booming for all types of lambs currently.

Fleshed factory-fit lambs are selling over €120/head, with €125/head common for lambs weighing over 50kg.

The store lamb trade is on fire, with prices of €2.50/kg to €2.80/kg and higher being recognised for hill-bred lambs.