Cattle a loss-making industry in 2010
Despite a fall in the cost of inputs, more than two-thirds of farmers will still make a loss from cattle rearing this year.
17 February 2010
Over two-thirds of farmers are forecast to continue making a loss from cattle rearing this year, according to Teagasc.
The agriculture and food development authority has said that despite a fall in the costs of inputs, profit margins on cattle farms are expected to prove lower for last year than in 2008.
Teagasc economist James Breen predicted Irish cattle prices would be 4% higher than in 2009 due to a number of positive factors. These included “continued growth in the live export trade, a diminishing EU herd size, the continuation of the effective ban on Brazilian beef exports and a gradual recovery in the global economy.”
However he also noted cattle prices would not return to the high levels of 2008. And while the new cattle pricing grid could deliver a higher price for farmers who were finishing top-quality cattle – he warned this could also lead to a lower price for plainer stock.
Teagasc also forecast rises in contracting charges and fuel and energy costs as a result of higher oil prices. Negative margins are subsequently expected to prevail on the majority of Irish cattle farms in the coming year, although the authority has stated losses should prove less severe than 2009 figures.