Rocky days ahead for the beef and milk industries
Published 22/07/2015 | 02:30
Suddenly, not everything looks so utterly positive for the future of Irish milk and beef - one of the nation's few truly indigenous industries.
Nobody wants to sound an undue alarm, but there are signs of rocky times on the horizon for both our key farm sectors.
But let's also note that there are signs that the difficulties could come to a head just as Ireland moves into a general election campaign.
The ending of EU milk quotas raises the risk of a beef supply glut which could depress factory prices, and drive farmers back to where they were last year in their prolonged battle with meat processors.
An indicator of concerns here comes in a signal from Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan that he may not be too absolutist in ruling out future intervention buying.
In milk, where so many Irish farmers have invested so much for increased production, there are ominous signs regarding world prices.
World milk prices are close to the lows last seen during the major crash in 2009 and there are reports from the US of millions of litres being poured away.
We will have an election sometime between late November and April 9 of next year at very latest.