2019 beef market outlook more positive – EU dialogue group

The outlook for the 2019 beef market is more positive, according to an EU Commission Civil Dialogue Group in Brussels.

The group found that farmers could look forward to more stable markets and prices, as production in the sector is set to slow.

The group was chaired by Angus Woods, the national livestock chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association, who said the committee discussed “a number of critically important issues for Irish beef and livestock farming”.

These issues included cattle prices, imports/exports, Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms and Brexit.

The group highlighted the difficulties in the beef market during 2018, pointing to increased slaughter numbers, which it links to the summer drought throughout Europe.

In 2018, total production has been up by about 2% but, according to Woods, production is forecasted to drop-off next year.

The meeting also heard of the proposed reforms to the CAP, and how important direct payments are for farm incomes.

The issue of Brazilian imports, and the failure of those products to meet EU standards, was also brought up, with Woods saying the Brazilian “competent authorities are not in a position to reliably certify that the guarantees required by the relevant export certificates are compiled with”.

He added that the EU Commission cannot rely on Brazilian certification of beef exports to Europe.

On Brexit, the general view was that a longer transition period, and keeping the backstop in place, was necessary to provide stability on beef and positive outcomes to the negotiations, according to Woods.