Rising meal cost dampens hopes of repeat of 2010
I think it is pretty fair to say that the sheep sector was almost alone in not wanting to see 2010 come to an end.
One producer said to me over the festive season that it was the most satisfying year he had experienced since he began farming in the 1970s.
He added that while no fortune was made, the prices available were a motivation to do whatever work or feeding necessary to ensure that you had a suitable product going to the factory or mart.
Hopefully the year ahead will reflect similar returns to farmers.
The big problem at the moment is the rapidly rising cost of meal.
While slaughter plants resisted increasing the quotes to 500c/kg right up to the end of the year, the reality was that little or no stock were bought at prices below this figure. Indeed, top prices of 510-520c/kg were paid in the few days between Christmas and the New Year.
Quotes for today vary from 468-480c/kg but prices of €5/kg up to 23kgs have been negotiated for lambs being slaughtered early this week.
Factory sources are adamant that prices will have to reduce but the IFA's James Murphy said that despite those attempts by the processors the bottom line is that weather conditions have turned this into a very expensive winter for finishers and at this stage farmers just cannot afford to sell at less than 500c/kg.