Beef sector's woes shouldn't be laid at dairy farmers' doors
We are farming in a very divisive environment with some beef farmers blaming others for the poor state of their finances.
There is a lot of stress and pressure on farmers in almost every enterprise.
While the weather is always and will always have a major influence on our farming lives and perhaps never more so than this year, the real problem currently is profit or more to the point the lack of profit.
Every enterprise is feeling the pinch and within each enterprise, for example beef, whether you are suckler farming, have a store/summer grazing enterprise or a fattening operation, the common thread from birth to 30 months is no profit other than the EU payments.
The IFA have embarked on a 'save the sucklers' campaign and other groups are choosing to heap the ills of the beef industry on top of the offspring from the dairy herd. The problems in the beef industry are not of the dairyman's making.
The factories, with the aid of feedlots, control the Irish market and they are at pains to tell us about the limitations of the smaller cuts on the dairy cross carcase.
However, from what I can see, medium size steak and high quality, low-fat mince is the most commonly used beef product now due to the range of modern dishes based on it and the speed with which it can be cooked.
In milk, creamery prices fluctuate wildly now based on global trends and a multiplicity of factors from grain prices, oil prices, tariffs and global supplies.