Comment: Sterling slide is costing our beef farmers €2m a week
The severe weakening of sterling in recent months is hugely negative for the competitiveness and viability of Irish farming.
The last time we saw this level of sterling weakness was in 2009. In the midst of domestic and international economic collapse, farm incomes fell by 30pc, averaging €12,000 that year.
The economic fundamentals are completely different this time around - the sterling weakness is being driven primarily by political uncertainty arising from the negative state of the Brexit negotiations.
Unfortunately, it has real economic consequences for affected sectors. At farm level, our beef farmers and mushroom producers are being hit hardest.
Since April, the UK beef market is up 7pc. It's our most important market so this should be good news.
The problem for us is that sterling is down 8pc in the same time period. At the time the UK election was called, sterling was at 85p:€1. It had been at, or close to that level, in previous months. Today it's 92p:€1.
Based on the sterling depreciation and the volume of cattle exports to the UK, we estimate that the sterling impact on the price of beef is about 15c/kg. This is a loss to beef farmers of close to €2m per week. Farmers cannot keep going at current loss-making prices.
Any possibility of profit from summer grazing is gone. The price cuts have undermined confidence at farm level, which is working its way into the store and weanling trade.