British farmers share our fears about post-Brexit landscape
I hosted a group of English beef farmers visiting Ireland last week and the cloud of uncertainty surrounding Brexit, twinned with the impact of the recent British election results, was regaled to me first hand.
While most livestock sector prices have improved upon poor 2016 levels, the spectre of possible trade disruption into our largest beef market looms dangerously on the horizon.
My English visitors also find themselves with similar concerns, particularly as to where British supermarkets may look to source their beef should trade tariffs be placed against Irish/EU beef. They voiced many concerns surrounding South American exports.
And the intricacies of living on one side of the border and frequently travelling to work on the northern side in a post-Brexit, era dawned on me last Saturday. Leaving a farm open day north of Castleblaney, I took the shortest route home, crossing the border on three different occasions.
The local impacts of border closures not to mention the negative impact on agricultural trade between both jurisdictions could be devastating.
Meanwhile, the relatively small number of summer feeders have been bolstered by the welcome positive prices that have been available over the past month.
While weekly kill numbers have continued to exceed 31000, an improved demand from European markets has helped maintain prices. Given the exceptional grazing season since spring turnout, grass cattle are now very close to becoming available for slaughter.
The slight drop in base quotes and larger drop in cow prices over the past week is hopefully only a signal of a temporary slide and not an indication of a general market trend.