IRELAND - Farmers have identified product price as the key issue that will impact on their farm enterprise in 2017, according to the IFA barometer of farmer sentiment which is part of the Farm Income Review.
Just over half (53 per cent) of those who responded said it was most important to them, with a quarter of farmers saying Brexit would be the key issue.
To gauge the mood of farmers as they headed into 2017, respondents were asked whether they were positive about the outlook for Irish farming in 2017 compared with 2016. 47 per cent of respondents were negative about the outlook. 40 per cent were positive, with 13 per cent of respondents stating that they did not know or had no opinion.
When asked about the outlook for their own farming enterprise in 2017, however, respondents were more positive, with 53 per cent positive, compared with 37 per cent negative, and 10 per cent who did not know/had no opinion.
The outlook by sector shows a significant variation depending on the enterprise. Those sectors most concerned about 2017 are tillage, beef and horticulture. By contrast, the dairy, pigmeat and poultry sectors displayed strong positivity for 2017.
National Farm Income last year is estimated to have increased by 2 per cent on 2015. While market returns fell across almost all sectors, a significant increase in direct payments contributed to the slightly positive outcome at national level.
Commenting on the overall outlook for farming, IFA Chief Economist Rowena Dwyer said predictions are framed in the context of the very uncertain impact that the negotiations on Brexit will have on key economic indicators, such as consumer demand, investment confidence, the exchange rate, and, ultimately, producer prices.
“Exchange rate volatility between sterling and the euro is certain to continue throughout 2017... While there was a slightly more positive outlook for sterling as we entered 2017, the potential for it to fluctuate significantly on the back of political statements and events, as we have already seen in recent days, remains a concern.”
ThePigSite News Desk