ICSA warns against premature forecast of better beef and sheep incomes this year

24th July, 2012

ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin warned that it might be premature to forecast better beef and sheep incomes for 2012.  Mr Gilmartin was reacting to Teagasc forecasts that beef and sheep income could be up due to better livestock prices.

“We have yet to see big numbers of weanlings sold, so price predictions come with a health warning.  As we have seen in recent weeks, factories are looking to take advantage of any extra supply.”

“However, the biggest issue is whether we can assess the cost impacts of the awful weather until we see how the next few months turn out.  It’s certain that feed costs, especially on cattle farms, are rocketing due to farmers having to house stock over the summer months.”

“Poor quality silage will also have a huge impact on the need to buy in extra concentrates.  It will all depend on what the autumn is like and when the winter feeding period begins.”

“Aside from feed, there is ongoing pressure on costs from fertiliser and fuel prices as well.  Again poor weather is leading to less efficient use of these inputs.”

“So overall, I would be delighted to see an increase in cattle and sheep incomes in 2012, but I’m not sure it will pan out that way.”