As the agricultural world is coming to terms with the Government's announcement this afternoon, financial markets present another potential blow to trade. Sterling in particular is of concern to farmers in the Republic of Ireland. In the past 24 hours, it has moved from 87.4p = €1, to 89.1p =€1. A movement of almost 2p in 24 hours is dramatic and it adds to a weakening trend for sterling over the past month. On February 12, sterling was trading at below 83p = €1.

This has the potential to impact farm gate prices directly, as so much of ROI trade is with the UK, especially for beef, cheese and pigmeat. While dairy and pigmeat have other global options, subject to transport logistics, there isn’t an alternative for beef.