Mixed signals for agriculture from Government – ICSA

5th December, 2012

Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) national president, Gabriel Gilmartin, has described the Government’s announcements on expenditure cuts as providing mixed signals to the farming community.

“While the announcements are not as severe as previously anticipated, the fact remains that a cut of €105 million to  the agriculture budget will translate into some cuts to farm income, particularly with a €30 million cut in Disadvantaged Area Scheme and a €19 million cut to REPS,” Mr. Gilmartin said.

“The problem is that agriculture has been asked to take 4.7% of the total €2.2 billion expenditure this year even though it only accounted for 2.8% of gross voted expenditure in 2011. What’s worse is that more of the same is predicted for next year and the year after. Government must realise that ongoing cuts to farm schemes will deter farmers from investing with a view to expanding exports in line with Food Harvest 2020 targets.

“Nonetheless, ICSA is pleased that the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme has remained intact. It also appears that there will be some effort made to ensure that active farmers are spared from the worst of the Disadvantaged Area cuts. This will need further clarity but ICSA believes that the focus on eligibility rather than cutting everyone is a better approach,” Mr. Gilmartin concluded.

Beef prices slip back as kill rate rises, sheep prices solid

5th December, 2012

Prices for factory beef have slipped back in the past few days from last week’s record highs with higher than normal kill rates the reason for this according to the Livestock Price Coordinator for the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), John Cleary.

For a good mix of steers, the base price being quoted is €3.85 – 3.95/kg, a descrease of 10 – 15c from last week’s highs. Factories are quoting €3.95- €4.00/kg for heifers a slight fall from last week.  For a mix of U and R grade bulls, the base price is also €3.95 – €4.00/kg, 10c decrease on last week.  Base price quotes for cows stand at €3.15-€3.55/kg. This is only a slight fall from last week due to the fact that the manufacturing trade is still looking for low wne meat.

Commenting on this week’s trade, Mr. Cleary said: “Prices have slipped back as much as 10-15c for high spec cattle this week. The main reason attributed to the ease back on prices is a higher than normal kill rate for the week. People were tempted by the fantastic prices available to them over the past number of weeks. High end bulls and heifers are back to below the €4/kg mark for the first time in a long time yet cows are still holding strong due the maintained demand from within the manufacturing trade for low end cuts of meat.

“It’s far from doom and gloom however. Prices are still strong in the county, saying that there are avenues to be explored to making more money from looking outside the county. Saying that, it’s not worth the transport cost to enter into excessive travel to get a few extra cent per kg. The word on the ground is that prices will remain as they are or even increase in the next week or two so farmers shouldn’t be disheartened by the news this week,” Mr. Cleary concluded.

Sheep prices have continued upwards in the past couple of weeks after a period of bottoming out. Factories are paying up €5.05/kg for lambs up to 23/kg. There were scarcities at the tail end of last week that brought prices up to €5.10/kg but this has eased back now. Quotes for ewes are €3.10/kg, no increase from last week.

Farmers and factories need to tackle fluke – ICSA

2nd December, 2011

Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), sheep chairman, Paul Brady, has said that due extremely wet weather conditions presently, farmers need to be proactive with tackling liver fluke and factories need to provide liver reports on slaughtered sheep to help stem the spread of fluke.

“The wet weather we are experiencing at the minute is prime conditions for the spread of liver fluke. Farmers need to dose for liver fluke as well as dipping within the set out timeframe. If fluke goes undetected in a flock it could have enormous financial consequences for the farmer,” Mr. Brady said.

“Liver fluke is a danger to the stock and by factories providing an accurate liver report from their vet it could mean the targeted and strategic eradication of it from a flock. The onus is on both the farmer, through good husbandry to ensure a fluke free flock but the factories can also aid this process by providing accurate reports on the slaughtered animals’ liver,” Mr. Brady concluded.