Feature quantity and quality were excellent in most cases, despite some hiccups during the extended harvest, the low price of grain on international markets left most tillage enterprise gross margins in negative territory for 2019. On-account harvest prices were down by a quarter, with margins saved from decimation by spring barley yields jumping by thirty percent and winter wheat yields increasing by nine percent per hectare, on average. Perfect growing conditions are rarely repeated two years in a row and tillage farmers must hope that a significant price increase comes from somewhere in the coming year. Direct costs including fertiliser and seed should fall slightly this year. After that, any income lift will require global output reductions or significant increases in consumption. On a positive note, Andy Doyle of the Irish Farmers Journal, speaking at the ITLUS Winter Conference in December, said that the Argentinian wheat harvest was well back on expectations in recent weeks, driving up global wheat prices, adding JANUARY 2020 www.irishfarmersmonthly.com that static maize prices will eventually temper that upward price surge. For good or ill, Irish grain production next harvest is likely to be reduced because much of the higher yielding winter wheat and barley acreage was not sown last Autumn due to wet conditions. Pork on a roll We all know the story of pigmeat prices. Producers have waited a long time for the sun to shine on their sector. African Swine Fever is the ill-wind in this instance and, provided the disease can be kept out of Ireland, there should be an opportunity in the coming months for Irish pig producers to make up for the losses they suffered in the past couple of years. With reasonable weather conditions, no major geopolitical disturbances and continuing demand from the Far East, the coming year may deliver some price solace for Irish meat, milk and grain producers. “The outlook for Irish and EU lamb prices for 2020 is stable, with global sheep meat prices projected to remain high” Your trusted rehydration solution is available now Aiding rapid recovery for scouring calves Rapid rehydration following onset of diarrhoea is crucial to calf recovery • Contains optimal levels of readily available energy and electrolytes 16 Manufactured and distributed in NI by: Norbrook Laboratories Ltd, Station Works, Newry, Co. Down, BT35 6JP. Distributed in ROI by: Norbrook Laboratories (Ireland) Ltd, Rossmore Industrial Estate, Monaghan, County Monaghan. Contains: Sodium citrate dihydrate, sodium acetate trihydrate, sodium propionate, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, potassium dihydrogen phosphate, glucose (anhydrous), silica colloidal anhydrous. | 4419-LA(C)-v2a-NI/ROI-20/12/19