Winter wheat and spring barley profitability up 50% in 2018
Preliminary results from the Teagasc e-Profit Monitor suggest higher returns from crops last year compared with 2017.

A combination of higher grain and straw prices and lower costs increased the average profitability of winter wheat and spring barley crops by over 50% in 2018 compared with 2017, a new report from Teagasc states.

Results from a small number of farms suggest both winter wheat and spring barley yields decreased by an average of 22%.

Location

"We must be careful when looking at the 2018 figures as the results will be very different depending on where a farmer was located in 2018.

"We know farms with a mix of winter and spring crops in the northeast returned reasonable yields and fared far better than farmers dependent on spring crops in the southeast,” Michael Hennessy, head of crops knowledge transfer at Teagasc, said.

We must be careful when looking at the 2018 figures as the results will be very different depending on where a farmer was located in 2018

“Farmers will continue to collate their figures in the coming months and we will have a clearer picture of the situation towards the middle of 2019.”

The 2017 e-Profit Monitor (ePM) results cover some 340 farms with over 25,000 ha.

The overall trend in 2017 is a marked increase in income compared with 2016.

The e-Profit Monitor average net margin for tillage farmers analysed was €343/ha, which compares to €106/ha in 2016.

It is expected that this trend may continue in 2018 as growers with a mix of crops returned higher yields and output than those with spring cereals only.

Income

In 2017, the top one-third of growers achieved an income of €486/ha compared with the bottom third who achieved only €53/ha.

The bottom-performing group incurred over 50% more fixed costs (depreciation, interest, light, heat, etc) compared with the top group.

The bottom-performing group had a much higher proportion of land rented at 62% of the entire area compared with 26% of the area by the top-performing group.

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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.

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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.

Slow

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.

Gloomy

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.