News & Events
Hereunder on this page, you will find some relevant industry news. We usually list hundreds of Irish, British and European Agri-Food, Beverage, Environment & Forestry Events scheduled in 20 plus countries. Unfortunately due to the #coronavirus pandemic most Agri shows & rural events have been cancelled for 2020.
If you are organising an event or webinar, farm or machinery demo or know of a major show or conference scheduled over the next two years please let us know. If it is of public interest we will consider listing it free of charge on our website. We welcome feedback so please send us an email. Please click on year underlined to access a list of events of interest to you.
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Northern Ireland (NI) Farm Income Increased over 30 % in 2020
Total farm income in NI soared by a third last year, according to the latest Dept. of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) figures indicate that the ‘Total Income from Farming’ (TIFF) in Northern Ireland increased by 34%.The increase from £342 million in 2019 to £456 million last year was a 26% increase in ‘real terms’.
TIFF represents the return on own labour, management input and own capital invested for in farming. It represents farm income measured at the sector level. Total Gross Output for agriculture in NI was 4% higher at £2.23 billion in 2020. There was a 4% increase in the value of livestock output, while crops fell by 12% and horticulture was 6% lower.
The dairy, beef, sheep and pork sectors saw all increases overall in the value of outputs, while arable and poultry meat were the only two to see falls. Sheep saw the biggest improvement, with income up 27% over the year, followed by a 20% increase for pork producers.
Direct payments were also up, with the estimated value of the 2020 Basic Payment Scheme, Greening Payment and Young Farmers’ Payment totalling £297 million. This is an increase of 4%, compared to 2019 payments.
Dairying remains the largest contributor to the total value of Gross Output at £667 million in 2020; an increase of 2% between 2019 and 2020.The average farm-gate milk price decreased by 0.7% to 27.01p/L, while the volume of milk produced in NI increased by 2% to 2.4 billion litres.
The total output value of beef cattle and cull cows was 2% higher at £438 million in 2020.The number of animals slaughtered decreased by 2.4% in 2020; The average producer price for finished cattle was £3.46/kg in 2020 while the average price for cull animals was £2.43/kg.
These prices were 6.1% and 8.2% higher than the respective averages for 2019.In addition to these changes, there were also increases in the number of breeding and store cattle imported to Northern Ireland in 2020.
The value of output from sheep increased by 27% to £84 million in 2020.
The total number of sheep slaughtered increased by 6% in 2020, while, the average carcass weight decreased by 2% to 22kg.The volume of sheep meat produced was 3% higher in 2020. The average producer price also increased by 15% to £4.46/kg.
The value of output in the pig sector increased by 20% to £217 million in 2020 while the egg sector increased by 11% to £128 million. However, the value of poultry output fell by 3% to £299 million.
All intensive sectors recorded an increase in production volumes, with pigs up by 10%, eggs up by 5%, and poultry up 3% compared with the previous year. The producer prices in the pigs and eggs sectors increased by 8% and 6% respectively, whereas, the producer price for poultry fell by 5%.
The total output value for crops fell by 12% in 2020 to £62 million. This was due to lower yields and more spring cereal crops grown in 2020.The value of output for cereals fell by 7% to £31 million and the value of output for potatoes fell by 10% to £21 million.
The value of output recorded in the Horticulture sector was lower year-on-year for 2020, at £95 million. Mushrooms were the largest contributor to this sector in value terms, with an estimated output value of £46 million.
Teagasc Launch Report for Crop Sector
The Teagasc Tillage Stakeholder Consultative Group and Minister Heydon launched a key report on 27 August, 2020, for the Irish Tillage sector entitled Crops 2030 – A strategic plan to deliver environmental and economic sustainability for the Irish Crops Sector.
The report assesses the current state of the sector and provides 54 tangible recommendations. These collectively highlight how tillage farming in Ireland can make a significant contribution to meeting national Greenhouse gas reduction targets, supporting the authenticity and sustainability credentials of Irish exports and exploits the provenance of our native grains to market a suite of Irish produced food and drink products.
The report identifies areas where native cereals can be further developed to help substitute imported ingredients currently used in the food, drinks and animal feed sectors. There are substantial opportunities to increase native grain uses in cereal-based foods and oats products. There are also opportunities in cold pressed oils and potato products, which can contribute to healthier diets and help tackle obesity. The drinks industry is increasing exports year-on-year and there is further potential to increase grain supply to this industry to offset imports and hence support the legitimacy of labelled products.
The level of animal feed imports has increased dramatically from two million tonnes in 2008 to over four million tonnes in 2018, with much of the additional demand driven by the expansion of the dairy sector. Ireland imports animal feed ingredients from over 60 countries, many of which have production systems associated with high GHG emissions and negative impacts on biodiversity. Substitution of many of these imported ingredients represents a significant opportunity for the Irish crops sector, with potential to produce both energy and protein crops for the feed market.
Irish tillage crops produce the lowest amount of GHG per unit area or per unit of output compared to all our other main agricultural production systems. So, replacing imported animal feeds with traceable, locally produced, starch and protein grains presents an opportunity to significantly decrease our carbon footprint whilst enabling the crop sector to expand production and fulfil its potential within Irish agriculture.
Improved Farm Incomes in 2019
Cost reductions during 2019 should have been enough to boost incomes in agriculture in 2019, but market conditions led to a reduction in output prices for cattle and cereal crops in particular, with the price of milk also falling.
The difficulties in the beef market in 2019 were offset by the provision of additional support payments in the form of the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM), while payments under the Beef Environmental Efficiency Programme (BEEP) also supported some beef farmer incomes. The BEAM payment made in 2019 in particular supported the incomes on eligible participating beef farms, and also supported incomes on qualifying sheep and tillage farms with a cattle enterprise.
The Dairy system experienced the largest cost reduction in 2019, and coupled with a further increase in milk output volume, produced an average income of €66,570 in 2019, an increase of 9% on the 2018 level. This increase in income occurred in spite of a fall in milk prices of 3 per cent last year.
For the Cattle Rearing system, which comprises farms that are mainly specialised in suckler beef production, the benefit of lower production costs in 2019 was partially offset by lower cattle prices. However, the receipt of BEAM support on those farms participating in the scheme, combined with lower costs of production, produced an average income of €9,188 in 2019, an increase of 11% on the 2018 level.
In the ‘Cattle Other’ system, which are mainly beef finishing farms, but also includes farms selling store cattle, production costs also fell in 2019. However, finished cattle prices were significantly lower in 2019 and this lower price environment more than offset the positive impact of lower costs of production. Despite the provision of additional income support to beef farmers via the BEAM, the ineligibility of store cattle for support and the decisions of some cattle finishers not to participate in the BEAM scheme, produced an average income of €13,893 in 2019, a decrease of 6% on the 2018 level.
The fall in Irish cattle prices in 2019, reflected a number of issues, including an increase in Irish cattle supplies, and weaker demand for beef in both EU and UK export markets. The decline in the value of sterling versus the euro, driven by concerns over the economic impact of Brexit, also weakened the cattle prices received by Irish beef farmers.
The Sheep system benefitted from lower production costs in 2019 and did not experience as large a fall in output prices in 2019 as was experienced by beef finishers. Many Sheep farms with cattle also qualified for support under the BEAM, which added support to the incomes of those that chose to participate. Collectively, lower costs of production and BEAM receipts in 2019 were sufficient to offset lower output prices and produced an average income of €14,604 in 2019, an increase of 9% on the 2018 level.
The Tillage system saw much improved production conditions in 2019, which led to higher crop yields. In contrast to other sectors, production costs on tillage farms increased in 2019. However, the biggest factor affecting incomes on tillage farms in 2019 was the large drop in cereal prices. Lower prices in 2019 wiped out the benefit of increased crop yields. Some tillage farms qualified for support under the BEAM measure, but even so, the average income on tillage farms fell by 15% in 2019 to €34,437.
Agribusiness Roadmap during #Coronavirus Pandemic
As we all know due to government advice Sales Executives can no longer call to farmer customers or trade accounts. All Agri shows, Trade events, Farm Demos, Seminars etc have all been cancelled this year or deferred to 2021.
So how does one communicate with customers and promote your business during this difficult period? Farmers after all still need feed, fertilisers, machinery, seed and other agri inputs and more importantly, most can afford to pay for same.
Farmers still want to improve their incomes, reduce costs, save time and enhance their family lifestyles. So if you have a product or service which can be of benefit to their enterprise why keep the good news to yourself?
Reducing your advertising or marketing budget is not a cost-effective option. Due to increased livestock numbers the market for feed and other agri inputs is actually growing and farmers are open to new ideas. Due to current travel restrictions and with more family help on the farm they actually have more time to read publications, look at websites, listen to podcasts & talk to you on Zoom.