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Cattle prices rising, check out the cattle factory prices reported as quoted, or paid to IFA Members this week.

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Digging is well under way this week with many potato growers taking advantage of the mild conditions present to harvest the crop. It is estimated that up to 25% of the main crop harvest is complete, with this figure on the rise daily.

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IFA National Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy said lamb supplies have tightened in recent days with factories struggling to get adequate numbers. He said prices are strengthening with reports of €4.80/kg paid. He said more farmers are getting €4.75/kg.

Sean Dennehy said supplies normally tighten at this time of year and farmers need to negotiate hard in order to maximise returns.

“IFA is meeting the lamb factories this week and will be pushing hard for price increases to reflect market returns and will also be pushing to get carcass weights up to 22.5kgs,” he said.

To date this year, new season lambs are back 19,000 head on last year, while the cull ewe kill is up 55,000 and the hogget kill was up 22,000, leaving the overall kill up 57,000.

Sean Dennehy said IFA will be raising the serious concern over the large cull ewe kill and the poor replacement ewe lamb and ewe hogget trade this year. He said IFA will make it clear to the factories low incomes and poor prices are the root cause of reducing ewe numbers.

He said as well as incomes and prices, EID, Clean Sheep Policy, factory charges and other sheep policy issues will be on the agenda.

IFA provide twice weekly price updates on text, www.ifa.ie and twitter.

The spell of good weather has allowed farmers to make excellent progress on plantings of winter crops. Based on reports from around the country it would appear that most of the extra plantings will be attributed to barley. However it must be remembered that winter barley was back by over 8000 ha last year so we should see this area restored or perhaps regain the 74,000 ha level of 2016.

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Check out the cattle factory prices reported as quoted, or paid to IFA Members this week.

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