Beef trade's boost
when beef producers survey some of the best genetics in the Irish beef herd at the livestock stands over the next three days, they will be thinking on how to maximise profits at home.
As they wander between pens and rows of well-muscled beef stock, they will be heartened by analysis from Bord Bia that predicts the European beef market is stabilising.
Bord Bia meat division analyst Joe Burke says that by following difficult trading conditions due to weak market demand, particularly for higher value cuts, the European beef market has shown signs of stabilising as tighter availability and a more positive currency situation has helped the trade.
"The prospects over the coming months point to the relatively tight supply situation continuing across a number of key European markets, while Irish finished cattle supplies are also predicted to tighten," he says.
With 1.6m cattle slaughtered at export plants already this year, cattle supplies are expected to tighten in the coming months. Moving into next year, Bord Bia is predicting a fall of more than 100,00hd in cattle availability, with a further drop of 100,000hd in 2012.
Britain remains in a deficit beef position, with the latest forecasts putting UK beef imports for 2012 at 406,000t.
This is good news for Irish beef farmers, although any lift in demand for beef will have to be matched by a hike in prices.
All of the main breed cattle and sheep societies are represented at this week's Plough Championships, with an extensive livestock section.