LAMB TRADE REMAINS STRONG – IFA

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IFA National Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy said the lamb trade remains strong with factories paying €5.50 to €5.60/kg to get stock and top prices of €5.70/kg paid for larger lots.

He said moves by some plants to lower quotes and stall the strong rise in prices was meeting strong resistance from feeders. He said compared to this time last year prices were running about 20/25c/kg above last year’s price.

Sean Dennehy said the weekly kill has dropped back well with total numbers at 44,035 for week ending Feb 5th, compared to 52,081 for the same week last year. For this week the lamb/hogget numbers are down to 35,414 compared to 43,021 for the same week last year. In addition, the ewe kill is also down 5% on the week to 8,620 head.

The IFA Sheep Farmers leader said numbers are expected to continue to tighten this spring and with Easter and Ramadan coming close together in late April and early May, the market should remain very buoyant.

IFA National Dairy Chairman Tom Phelan today (Monday) said lower global milk production and the quasi emptying of SMP intervention stocks had led to generally firmer global dairy markets, further reinforced last week by a 6.7% increase – the 5th consecutive lift – in the GDT price index.
This justifies, at the very least, Irish co-ops maintaining the base milk price for last month’s milk.

He added that those processors who cut milk prices in recent months should to reverse those cuts and ensure that the pay-out fully reflects market returns.

“EU milk output has fallen slightly in both November and December, and global milk output has slowed down dramatically. Together with SMP stocks now down to less than 1% of what they were at peak, the supply side has come a long way to meeting an admittedly quieter global demand growth,” he said.

“After a difficult year which squeezed dairy farmers’ margins spectacularly, and with expected continued increases in fertiliser and feed costs into 2019, it is essential that co-ops sustain the highest possible milk price that markets allow. For the short term, we believe this must mean at the very minimum holding their February price, with scope for more positive moves in the months ahead, should current trends continue,” he concluded.

IFA Animal Health Chairman Pat Farrell has called on the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and his officials to strongly reject the proposal to impose a 30-day pre-movement TB test on animals in the Delegated Acts under the New EU Animal Health Law.

The IFA Chairman said the imposition of this control on animal movements would impact severely on the normal trade for cattle and add enormous unnecessary costs to the TB programme.

Pat Farrell said farmers are already at breaking point with the restrictions imposed on them by the Department of Agriculture in the TB programme and the suggestion that this burden could be increased for all farmers is unacceptable.

The IFA Chairman said proposals in the latest draft of the Delegated Act requires all herds that are over six months since a TB test to have a 30-day pre-movement test in order to be eligible for movement.

This measure is not scientifically based, will not contribute to eradication of the disease and will add an enormous cost to the TB programme which farmers will not accept.

Pat Farrell said Minister Creed and his officials cannot under any circumstances allow this movement restriction to be adopted in the Delegated Act currently reaching conclusion in the Commission.

Following a visit to Cherbourg, France, IFA National Dairy Chairman Tom Phelan and Livestock Chairman Angus Woods today (Friday) said there is real scope for increased quality lairage capacity for Irish calf exports in the area.

The two IFA farm leaders called on Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, his officials and all stakeholders in the sector to engage with their relevant counterparts and partners at national and regional level in France to help make this happen.

“We met with the two lairage operators in Cherbourg, and found their facilities to be of very high standard, professionally run by committed staff using best practice which are being controlled by the regional veterinary authorities whom we also met,” the two Chairmen said.

Tom Phelan added: “At a meeting with the Port Authorities, we established that there is real appetite in the region to develop and support the logistical capacity for all types of export activity, especially in the context of Brexit. Our meetings with the lairage operators have shown that they like working with Irish calf exporters and are positively disposed towards catering for increased capacity in future”.

Angus Woods added “Our trip was not just about gathering information. We also wanted to give justified confidence to the local lairage operators, veterinary and Port authorities that the export of calves in best practice conditions out of Ireland was a sustainable trade flow which, while highly seasonal, would see a steady increase and justify continued and additional investment in facilities”.

The National Livestock Chairman added: “For calves just as for weanlings or other stock, the live export trade is a crucial component of the market, providing essential price competition and additional outlets. Securing increased capacity is very important for this valuable trade.”

In 2018, Ireland exported a total of 246,000 live cattle, of which 158,000 were calf exports. The main calf export markets included Spain (92,495), Netherlands (48,922) and Belgium (13,459).

Kerry Foods

Addressing a protest at the Kerry Foods plant in Shillelagh, Co Wicklow today, IFA Poultry Chairman Andy Boylan said chicken growers are demanding a commitment from Kerry Foods to support Irish produced chicken, following the revelation that chicken sold under the Denny label did not come from Ireland.

He said the fact that Kerry Foods originally said that the chicken came from Brazil, but then that it came from other countries, only adds to the general confusion for consumers.

IFA want the country-of-origin of the primary source of meat used in prepared foods such as this Denny product to be clearly stated on the packaging to stop misleading Irish consumers who thought they were buying locally-produced food.

He said, “This loophole in the current labelling legislation that Kerry Foods are exploiting to mislead consumers reinforces the importance of trusting the Bord Bia Quality Assurance label”.

Andy Boylan called on Irish MEPs and the EU Commissioner for Agriculture to ensure that this issue is highlighted and addressed as a matter of urgency at EU legislative level.

He said Irish consumers feel misled by a brand that they have loyalty to. Kerry Foods has failed to show the same support for locally-produced Bord Bia Quality Assured chicken.

“Poultry farmers have had their margins squeezed with all inputs increasing by 15-30% in the past two years. They need an increase to cover their costs, and don’t want to see an Irish food company, Kerry Foods, and their brand Denny which is perceived as an Irish brand, using imported product.”

“The Irish consumer values and trusts Irish poultry and all food processors should support locally produced chicken. For Kerry Foods to import chicken from across the globe when the most efficiently produced chicken is produced on their doorstep here is a disgrace and needs to be rectified.”


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