Following two years of impressive growth, the Irish agriculture sector is set to consolidate its position in 2012, according to a study released by Teagasc.
The Teagasc Outlook 2012 report finds that prospects for Irish agriculture, while still broadly positive, are not as good as they were this time 12 months ago. The forecast for the sector as a whole remains highly dependent on circumstances in the wider EU and in the developing world.
Teagasc points out that, the pig sector, which endured considerable losses in 2011 due to high pig feed prices, is likely to be an exception to the general trend for 2012. Teagasc pigs specialist Michael McKeon said that profitability in the pig sector is set to be restored in 2012 as pig prices rise and the cost of feed decreases.
Farmers are becoming used to volatility in the price of farm produce and their costs of production, and this pattern is set to continue. An added complication for prices in 2012 could come in the form of exchange rate fluctuations, with much speculation as to whether the euro will retain its value against other major currencies, such as sterling and the US dollar. A weaker euro would make Irish exports more competitive, but would also generate inflation in the price of imported farm inputs such as fertilizer and fuel.
Thursday January 19, 2012/ Teagasc/ Ireland.