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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Catch up with all the top headlines and get a look ahead at tomorrow's weather.

Weather forecast

Tonight will become quite windy, with freshening southerly breezes.

It will be predominantly dry, but there will be a few patches of rain and drizzle about.

Minimum temperatures of 5°C to 9°C, according to Met Éireann.

Tuesday will see a dry day in many central and eastern counties.

Rain will extend across most of Munster and Connacht by the afternoon.

Rain will then gradually spread eastwards during the evening, with some heavy bursts possible.

Highest temperatures of 10°C to 13°C in moderate to fresh south to southeast winds.

In the news

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  • Concerns mount as the clock continues to countdown to March 2019, when the UK is expected to have an approved exit plan in place and Theresa May has deferred a Brexit vote in the Commons.
  • Patrick Hurley of Carhoogarriffe, Leap, Co Cork, appeared at Kenmare District Court last week, accused of stealing cash from a 93-year-old Kenmare man.
  • The new assistant principal in Kildalton qualified in Wales and previously held the role of lecturer in dairy production.
    Kildalton appoints new assistant principal
    The new assistant principal qualified in Wales and previously held the role of lecturer in dairy production.

    James Ryan has been appointed as the new assistant principal in Kildalton Agricultural College, Co Kilkenny.

    Ryan currently lectures in dairy production and manages the 110-cow dairy enterprise on the farm.

    Three of his former students were awarded FBD young farmer of the year and he has previously worked as a Teagasc dairy business and technology adviser in Tipperary and education officer in Skibbereen.

    “I am really looking forward to this new role, as I am passionate about teaching and instilling a love of agriculture, and in particular dairy farming, to students,” Ryan said.

    He was also congratulated in his new appointment by head of Teagasc education Tony Petitt, who said: “James brings to this role a wealth of experience of delivering education courses, both in theory and in terms of practical application on farms. I wish him every success in this post.”

    Ryan takes over as assistant principal from Tim Ashmore, who has been appointed as the education programme's verification specialist in the Teagasc curriculum development and standards unit.

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    Rain intensifies as winter sets in – weather report
    After a relatively dry autumn, November has seen above-average rainfall for most of the month.

    Autumn 2018 has been marked by relatively mild and settled weather, according to the most recent quarterly Met Éireann weather report.

    Storms Ali, Callum and Diana brought strong gusts, with wind speeds of up to 115 km/h recorded during Storm Ali at Mace Head, Co Galway on 19 September.

    Strongest gusts

    Ali also recorded the strongest gusts, with 146 km/h recorded in the same place on the same date.

    Storm Ali will also remain in the minds of many farmers as being guilty of cancelling this year’s National Ploughing Championships at short notice, with an additional day added on to satisfy punters.

    Barring stormy weather, farmers enjoyed a relatively mild back-end, after what had been a trying year of difficult weather conditions.

    Many farmers were able to extend their grazing season and the majority of seasonal rainfall was below their long-term averages in September and October.

    However, rainfall was very much dependent on location.

    Just three very wet days were recorded in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, in comparison with 17 very wet days in Newport, Co Mayo.

    Overall, the report indicated that rain levels have intensified as winter has set in.

    November saw above-average rainfall for most of the country, with the west and northwest particularly hard hit.

    The last part of November and beginning of December were wet and this is reflected in the rainfall figures.

    Totals for the past two weeks are above normal almost everywhere. They were over twice the average values across the southern half of the country.

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