Beef the only grey cloud in bright outlook
What a difference a year makes. There was certainly far more optimism around the National Ploughing Championships last week than there has been for a while.
A significant lift in milk prices, a surprising turn for the better on the tillage front and the strongest margins from sheep for some time all contributed to a very positive outlook.
The one fly in the ointment was the beef scene, although matters on this front may be looking a little more hopeful.
The decision by AIBP to offer contracts for finishers will certainly put more confidence into the trade.
However, finishers have insisted that the base price of 330c/kg being offered for steers and 336-342c/kg for heifers may be 10-15c/kg off where it needs to be.
Speaking at the Farming Independent stand in Athy, Rory Fanning, managing director of Slaney Foods, said the autumn beef price to the farmer should have bottomed out.
Mr Fanning said that overall export markets remained firm but that a weakening of sterling was not helpful. He urged farmers not to slaughter cattle that were unfinished. He foresaw prices rising as winter progressed, but could not say by how much.
However, the Slaney boss was not planning to enter into contracts with winter feeders to supply cattle for spring 2011.