World food prices near two-year high in January
World food prices rose 2.1% in January from the previous month, according the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) food price index.

The FAO’s food price index measures monthly changes in prices for a basket of cereals, dairy products, oilseeds, meat and sugar. In January the basket average reached 173.8 points, up from 170.2 in December.

The increase pushed food prices on international markets to their highest level since February 2015 and a whopping 16.4% higher than the figure for January 2016.

The FAO is predicting a record harvest of 2.592bn tonnes of global cereals for 2016/2017.

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The farmer’s daily wrap: Glanbia retirement and water contamination in Cork
Here is your round-up of the top farming stories today, 21 June, and the weather outlook for Friday.

Weather forecast

Tomorrow, Friday, will be another bright day. Some sunny spells at times in all areas with top temperatures 16°C to 20°C. Best values in east Munster and south Leinster.

Friday night will be quite a cool night, with lowest temperatures of 5°C to 8°C in slack variable breezes. A few patches of mist in places also.

In the news

  • Hear all about the gap between large and small food exporters in Brexit readiness.
  • Farmers have been reminded to be mindful of water contamination and follow best practice when spraying after MCPAs were detected in Cork drinking water.
  • The former chair of Glanbia, Henry Corbally, has retired with immediate effect from his position as non-executive director.
  • Aurivo have launched a new app that allows milk producers to access all milk collection details at the click of a button.
  • An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and EU Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker delivered a joint address at Government buildings today, revealing no withdrawal from the backstop agreement.
  • In this week's editorial, Justin McCarthy looks at the need for a Brexit plan B, the importance of grassland management and BEEF 2018.
  • Have your say

    Now is the time to voice your opinion on the CAP 2020 proposals.

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    Listen: gap between large and small food exporters in Brexit readiness
    Bord Bia's Brexit Barometer shows that agri-food companies have made progress in planning for the UK's exit from the EU, but work remains to be done especially for smaller ones.

    As the prospect of a hard Brexit grows, results from a survey of 117 agri-food exporting companies by Bord Bia show that 54% have made some progress and developed plans in the past year, while 20% describe themselves as having made more advanced progress and taken actions and 26% say they have made no progress.

    While Bord Bia's chief executive Tara McCarthy told the Irish Farmers Journal it was "great to hear" that three quarters of companies had made at least some progress, the detail of risks addressed by exporters shows larger ones are more advanced.

    "For smaller companies, this is a bigger challenge. Larger companies are probably more organised, those over the €100m mark. The smaller companies, specifically those under the €1m mark, don't actually have the resources in many instances to put these scenario plans in place," she said.

    Listen to Tara McCarthy in our podcast below:

    This was apparent in a replies to a number of survey questions on crucial business areas to be affected by Brexit. Asked whether they had modelled the cost of future customs requirements, 40% of companies with a turnover of €100m or more said yes, but this fell sharply to under 20% for those under €1m.

    Some 85% of exporters have looked at expanding into new markets outside the UK.

    "We're looking at a fairly positive story here," said McCarthy. But again, this applies to 100% of larger companies, with lower rates of market diversification among smaller ones.

    McCarthy said it was reassuring to see more companies now addressing the financial aspects of Brexit, such as the need to increase cashflow availability to deal with export VAT when exporting to the UK after it leaves the EU. Exporters have also gotten better at raising Brexit issues in relations with their British customers.

    However, "more needs to be done in the area of customs and tariffs, and the nitty gritty of supply chains," she said. In response, Bord Bia aims to boost its training offer on issues such as currency and supply chain management in the coming months.

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    EU leaders warn of no-deal Brexit

    No withdrawal from the backstop agreement