Prices up but optimism has cautious tinge
It'll be no surprise to farmers to hear that leading players in the meat industry are downplaying the possibility of €4/kg for beef in 2011. However, they did admit that the situation is one of the most positive they've witnessed in recent times.
"The last time that market returns were this strong was 2008 and if anything they're looking even better for the coming year," said Dawn Meats Group development manager Paul Nolan.
Meat Industry Ireland's director Cormac Healy backs this up, noting that December 2010 prices were up 12pc on the previous year. He also pointed to Ireland's most important beef markets, Britain and Continental Europe. "Beef production in the EU-15 is forecast to be 1.5-2pc lower and 3pc lower in the UK."
Processors also acknowledge the impact of the possible opening up of the Turkish market where beef is reported to be making up to €10/kg.
"If Germany continues its new trade with Turkey, it will create more demand in Germany for Irish beef," said Slaney Foods managing director, Rory Fanning.
MII's Cormac Healy said that he expected only small volumes of Irish beef to go to Turkey because of the onerous criteria that any exports would have to fulfill.
Paul Nolan agreed, saying that processors were more interested in the opportunities arising out of the gaps left in the market by others chasing the Turkish trade. "Our job is to fill the holes left behind because that's where the long-term business lies."