There is huge consternation in the beef industry according to Teagasc Director Gerry Boyle.

Speaking at the Grange Beef Open Day this month, he said that Teagasc is trying to do is to identify practical ways in which farmers can secure their incomes through their own actions within the farm gate. The price a farmer gets paid is critical, he said and we try to focus on areas that can make a difference, such as the genetic quality of the herd. “A suckler farmer needs to get the cow right, that she is productive, that the calving pattern is pretty compact, that there is good grass, so the farmer can use the cheapest source of food,which is grazed grass.”

He said that, by using good genetics and managing grass the farmer can optimise income, regardless of price. “But with the way prices are moving that’s the single greatest concern for farmers.”

Prices will recover, he said, and hopefully the specification that the retailers requires will become clear and we would be confident that farmers using good management practices can improve their incomes significantly.