Teagasc 2019 outlook: suckler margins stay negative
Teagasc is forecasting average net margins on Irish suckler farms to remain negative in 2019 at €-27/ha.

Although an increase in margins on suckler farms is forecast by Teagasc next year, average net margins are expected to remain negative in 2019 at €-27/ha.

Teagasc’s Annual Review and Outlook 2019 was published earlier this week and states that gross margins on single-suckling enterprises are forecast to increase by 20% on average next year to €458/ha.

On beef finishing units, gross margins are expected to rise by 19% on average to €509/ha and overall net margins are forecast to be positive at €9/ha.

Performance range

There is a significant variation in forecasts between the top and bottom performers. On single-suckling enterprises, Teagasc expects the most profitable units to deliver a net margin of €172/ha next year, compared with €-247/ha on the least profitable enterprises.

The same is seen in beef finishing with net margins of €233/ha on the top performing units and €-193/ha on the least profitable enterprises.

Beef price

The forecast margins are based on a 2% increase in Irish beef prices next year, compared with 2018 levels. This is reflected on the weanling and store cattle trade with young cattle prices expected to be up by 4% next year.

“The projected increase in supplies finished cattle will be significantly lower than the increases observed in 2017 and 2018,” the document reads.

Exchange rates seen throughout this year are assumed by Teagasc for 2019 and so are existing trading arrangements between the EU and UK after Brexit.


On the cost side, feed prices are expected to be unchanged and, with normal grass growing conditions assumed for the 2019 season, total feed costs are forecast to be down by 25% on single-suckling enterprises and 26% on finishing units.

Fertiliser prices are forecast by Teagasc to be up 16% next year, but usage on suckler and beef farms is expected to be down 10%.

Contractor charges are not expected to change next year.

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ICSA protests low lamb prices in Co Wexford
The organisation is opposing 'savage price cuts' outside the Irish Country Meats factory this Monday.

The ICSA's sheep committee is mounting a protest against falling lamb prices outside ICM Camolin in Co Wexford this Monday morning .

“It costs a lot of money to rear these lambs and we need to be getting a minimum of €7/kg to make it viable. Right now, prices have gone well below the €6/kg mark, plus we’re getting hammered by weight limits,” said the organisation's sheep chair Sean McNamara.

He accused factories of importing lamb into the Republic to depresse prices, despite strong trade in the UK.

EID was supposed to help, but all that has done is increase costs

"EID was supposed to help, but all that has done is increase costs for us while factories and marts drag their heals on installing the necessary readers," McNamara said. He added that new exports markets so far had not delivered money for the primary producers.

“There is no way sheep farmers can bear these sorts of price cuts and if they continue, most of us will not be able to stay going. Our produce has been rendered virtually worthless; we might as well be giving it away for free,” he said.

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Weekly weather: unsettled with best sunshine on Monday and Tuesday
Met Éireann is forecasting a mix of sunny spells and showers all week, with temperatures declining from Wednesday but staying close to seasonal averages.


After a dry and sunny start, scattered showers in the northwest will become more widespread, except in Munster and parts of south Leinster, where they will remain isolated. Top temperatures of 12-16°C will reach 17°C in parts of Munster, before falling to 3-5°C at night. Winds will be light, mainly northerly.


A similar mix of sunny spells and scattered showers, again more frequent in the east, will come with warmer temperatures of 13-18°C, lower in the north and north-east. Winds will be light and variable. Overnight temperatures will fall to between 5°c and 7°C.


Wednesday will start largely dry, but there will be showers over Ulster in the morning. Rain will then move in from the west, becoming widespread and persistent overnight. Temperatures will range from 13-15°C as light winds veer from northerly to southerly.

Thursday and later

After a showery day on Thursday with normal temperatures, the outlook for the end of the week is for continued unsettled weather. A northerly wind will come with temperatures slightly lower than usual.

Farming forecast

Rain and soil condition

The east and south of the country is forecast to receive 5mm to 10mm in the coming week, and Atlantic coastal areas 15mm to 20mm. Most areas are expected to remain drier than normal, which was already the case last week.

Soil moisture deficits are above 40mm over parts of Munster and Connacht. Elsewhere soil moisture deficits are around 20mm to 30mm.


After a warmer than normal week, temperatures are forecast to stay close to average in the coming days. Grass frost is possible in some sheltered areas on Monday night but the risk is lower from Tuesday.

Sunshine and drying conditions

With higher than average sunshine expected in the coming week, drying conditions will be good on Monday and Tuesday, especially in Munster and Connacht, but this will vary with showers and spells of rain.


Monday and Tuesday will offer the best spraying conditions.

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Watch: new Irish Farmers Journal live weather page launched

This week in photos: the Irish Farmers Journal Beef Summit
Our top photos from the last week include marts in Birr and Tuam, along with suckler farming in Co Tipperary.

Sheep sale at Tuam Mart

Nine-year-old Darren Mangan from Tuam keeping an eye on auctioneer Pat Burke during the sheep sale at Tuam Mart. \ Brian Farrell

Sean Myers putting in a bid to auctioneer Pat Burke. \ Brian Farrell

An overview of the weekly sheep sale at Tuam Mart. \ Brian Farrell

Ollie Treacy moving bullocks

Beef farmer Ollie Treacy moving his herd of bullocks to fresh grass in Lisnagower, Co Tipperary. Ollie buys in weanlings and carries them through beef, finishing them on grass. \ Philip Doyle

Monday's cattle sale at Birr Mart

Liam Feighery bringing his cattle into Birr Mart prior to the weekly sale. Philip Doyle

Irish Farmers Journal's Beef Summit

Irish Farmers Journal beef and suckler editor Adam Woods, Irish Farmers Journal markets intelligence specialist Phelim O’Neill, the ICBF’s Andrew Cromie, Meat Industry Ireland’s Cormac Healy and UCD’s Prof Michael Wallace get the first panel of the Beef Summit under way at the Shearwater Hotel in Ballinasloe, Co Galway. \ Dave Ruffles

Teagasc director Gerry Boyle, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, Brendan Gleeson of the Department of Agriculture and Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy at the Beef Summit. \ Dave Ruffles

Minister Michael Creed. \ David Ruffles

Minister Creed in conversation with Hannah Quinn-Mulligan of the Irish Farmers Journal \ Dave Ruffles