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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How much carbon is in my milk?
Relating greenhouse gas emissions to each unit of agricultural production can help buyers choose the most carbon-efficient products, with Irish milk's carbon intensity the lowest in the EU.

Northern Ireland's Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has published its carbon intensity indicators for 2016, showing that 1kg of milk at standard fat and protein content was associated with greenhouse gas emissions of 1.285kg carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).

This is a reduction of one third on 1990 levels.

"Whilst milk production in the dairy sector has expanded by 66% since 1990, the total number of dairy cows over this period has remained relatively static, meaning this improvement has been driven by substantial increases in milk yield per cow," according to a DAERA statement . The carbon efficiency of milk has also improved faster than the rest of Northern Ireland's economy.


In the Republic, emissions from 1kg of standard milk amounted to 1.14kg CO2e. While there's no recent European comparison, a 2011 official study found the Irish carbon intensity of milk to be the lowest in the EU.

Meanwhile, 1kg of Irish beef was responsible for 11.58kg of emissions in 2016. Those values continue to improve every year.

Read a full explanation of the way greenhouse gas emissions are calculated in Thursday's Irish Farmers Journal.

The farmer's daily wrap: Delvin Mart canteen rodent problem and details of EID
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

  • Problems with rodents have led to the closure of Delvin Mart canteen.
  • Information leaflets on new EID tagging regulations are to be sent out with Sheep and Goat Census forms.
  • 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.
    Vet practice pulled up for supplying ‘unauthorised’ products
    The veterinary practice has been issued with an improvement notice for the wholesale selling of unauthorised veterinary medicinal products.

    The Ballygawley Veterinary Clinic in Northern Ireland has been issued with an improvement notice after being found to be contravening a number of regulations.

    The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) in the UK stated that it had found the practice to be supplying unauthorised veterinary medicine.

    There were no Republic of Ireland farms involved in the notice

    The VMD stated it had discovered: “Wholesale dealing of unauthorised veterinary medicinal products to other veterinary practice premises without a wholesale dealer's licence.”

    The practice had also been found to be supplying farms with veterinary medicine without sufficient evidence that the animals were under the care of vets or that a clinical assessment of the animals had been carried out.

    Although there had been some concern that sales of unauthorised veterinary products were travelling south of the border, a spokesperson for the VMD stated: “I can confirm that there were no Republic of Ireland farms involved in the notice concerning Ballygawley Veterinary Clinic.”


    The VMD stated that a number of improvements needed to be made by the practice.

    All wholesale activities must cease and all supplies of Singvac and Botulism Vaccine must have a valid special treatment certificate and must only be supplied to the named farm with the volume stated on the certificate.

    “All supplies must cease until such time as procedures have been implemented to ensure that all supplies occur in accordance with the certificates,” the VMD stated.

    Adequate records must be put in place to show that antibiotics prescribed to animals were needed, according to the VMD.

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