As we head to the end of a very difficult year I can only hope that 2021 will prove to be better on all fronts.
The introduction of a vaccine to combat Covid 19 is a great bit of good news but with the full scale program not taking effect until later in 2021 it could be a long time before we see light at the end of the tunnel.
In one way we here in Kilkenny Mart have at least been able to carry on with business even though that meant reduced numbers and the introduction of on line bidding via our MartBids app. Going forward this mode of selling will run in tandem with the ring bids and should help to introduce the sale of livestock to a much wider audience.
Prices for all livestock in 2020 has been good which has introduced more confidence for the cattle and sheep producer. Will this continue?
I must now add a serious warning of a subject we are now fed up hearing about that subject is Brexit.
If a deal is not reached between the UK and EU beef production will be seriously wounded and of course those negative vibes will effect both the store cattle and calf trade. With over 50% of our beef been exported to the UK the massive negative of WTO tariffs could be a fatal blow to many beef producer here who are working on very tight margins.
The fact that both sides are still talking is a welcome development but if a No Deal comes about we involved in the agri sector will be most affected. The negative impact on the sheep production may not be as great as our main market for sheep meat is mainland Europe. I can only hope a resolution is found but be it a positive or negative outcome those using the UK as a land bridge to Europe will encounter significant delays as they approach Dover.
The more I think about it I am left wondering of what benefit is it to the UK to leave the EU surely it presents more negatives than positives and could it lead to the break up of the UK as we know it with possibly Scotland being the first to jump ship. We await to see.
Our sheep sale on Monday proved another lively affair with butcher types ranging from €118 to €133 per head factory types from €106 to €124 per head and stores ranging from €86 to €106 per head.
Our final sheep sale takes place this Monday, December 21. The sale will also contain Dairy stock and calves. Monday, January 11, 2021 will be the date for our first sheep sale of the New Year with the following week, January 18, also including a major dairy sale.
Last Thursday’s cattle sale attracted an entry of just over 1000 head with trade remaining strong for beef and forward store types. Some lighter and plainer stores were a bit more difficult to get away with many farmer buyers having filled their quota for the year. The sale included an entry of 200 cull cows which saw a top call of €2.07 per kilo for continentals with Friesian types ranging from €0.70 to €1.50 per kilo.
This Thursday, December 17, will be our final cattle sale of 2020 which also includes 30 to 40 top quality suckler cows. Our first cattle sale of 2021 will be Thursday, January 7.
A big shout out to our Kilkenny Camogie Girls. Congratulation on your great victory especially to keep believing after all the disappointments you went through. The whole county is proud of you.
At this juncture I would like to extend a very big thank you to all who supported this year’s Kilkenny Lions Hamper, especially the farming sector. This would not be possible without the support of the many agri businesses in Kilkenny, Tipperary, Carlow, Waterford etc also of course our main partners the Kilkenny People and KCLR local radio. You all have helped to make Christmas somewhat brighter for the less well off in our community.
Until next time, I wish you and yours a Happy Christmas and healthy New Year. Stay safe and please keep an eye on your neighbours especially the more elderly and vulnerable.