Tipperary, Waterford and Kilkenny which are traditional dairying counties, all reported growth rates over the national average of 31%. While Cork reported an increase below the national average of 31%, the county still has more cows than 20 counties combined. Kerry reported a 21% increase of cows. Just 5 counties are responsible for the number of cows and percentage of the national herd increase and these are:
Cork with 362,898
Tipperary with 159,207
Limerick with 115,558
Kerry with 103,255
Kilkenny – 81,076
Beef farmers were angry after processors cut their prices between €20/hd - €50/hd. Heifer quotes, steer prices and bull quotes all fell. ICMSA accused factories of using the effects of Brexit and the drop in sterling for the cuts however “there is no justification on either front”.
Despite the embargo on beef exports to China being lifted 2 years ago, there is still no clear date on when trade can start. Chinese inspectors visited Ireland during the first week of September. The visit is expected to be the last piece of the jigsaw needed before securing a formal agreement. China has traditionally preferred pork over beef but beef is now the fast-growing meat in China due to changing consumer preferences.
Ulster University has established a new Agri-Business Development Centre with an aim of becoming a global centre of excellence. The unit will give sector-specific support to the local industry.
SuperValu remained on the top spot for the 12 weeks to June 18. However, there are now just 0.7 percentage points separating the top 3 supermarkets. The grocery market accelerated at its fastest pace since January 2017. Lidl now hold 11.7% and 11.2% for Aldi. Private label goods are making a significant comeback, growing at 4.2% for the period and they now account for 54% of total spend.
Mid-August saw farmers with over 50% of winter wheat and spring barley yet to be cut due to torrential downpours endured over recent days. Due to damp conditions, there are real fears of the winter wheat ‘Sprouting’.
Beef factories are trying to push bullock prices down to €3.80 / kg as the fallout from Brexit continue. This comes on the back of negative market reaction to the British Government’s publication of their position paper on Brexit. Outside the Eurozone, woes continue with the US$ dropping 11% in value against the euro in recent months. This impacts any international sales, except those within the Eurozone. The President of the IFA Joe Healy has said that cattle prices have decreased by €100 / head during August.