It's a gamble to buy stock on the back of SFP talk
The continued buoyancy in the cattle trade is a welcome development. Thomas Jordan of Ballymote Mart reckoned that current price levels haven't been equalled in more than 30 years. Suckler farmers might get a return for their efforts this year. And who could begrudge them that?
John Shirley has always claimed that the men and women who lamb ewes and calve cows are the real wealth creators in Irish farming.
And, when you think about it, there is a lot of truth in that assertion. It is the new-born animal that is the basis for all the transactions that follow.
However, any lift in cattle prices must be informed by a reasonable expectation of a lift in beef prices. And while that is the case at the moment, the fear is that returns this winter might not match the level of price increase in the marts.
Interestingly, prices across the board are up 20pc in Clare Marts, while the average increase in factory quotes was 15-16pc.
However, there is another factor at play here.
According to the rumour mill, the years 2010, 2011 and 2012 will be a new reference period for the single farm payment and that stocking levels over this period will directly impact farmer payments after 2013.
This is merely conjecture and speculation.