After the Easter time meeting between the Chinese Agriculture Minister and Minister Creed, which ended with the signing of a protocol, as many as 25 beef processing facilities have applied for approval from the Chinese authorities for beef exports to China.
However the Chinese government have only have approved two inspection teams for two days so possibly only 2 or at best 4 plants could potentially be approved. It was hoped that the market to China could be opened a little quicker which would certainly stabilise the beef prices here and help to curb uncertainty in the sector for the medium term.
In brighter news and something a little unexpected but none the less welcome in the sector, is that an order has been placed by a private Algerian buyer for 1200 head of heavy bulls. This is the first order placed from Algeria for quite some time and must be credited to An Bord Bia who invited a number of buyers to Ireland recently. The order requires approximately 600 CHX and LMX bulls up to 400kg and the rest of Angus X bulls of similar weight from the Dairy herd.
In Turkey, the first load of approximately 3000 young bulls has left Waterford port on Tuesday evening. It is the first consignment of an order of 20,000 head for delivery before September. Once unloaded, the boat will return for a second load.
In the recent agriculture council of ministers meeting, the UK minister for agriculture stated that it is the hope of the UK government that an all encompassing trade deal for Brexit will be reached with the EU and that Irish beef will not be subject to any tariff. Hopefully these comments are viewed by the beef sector as positive news and will serve to bring stability for the sector for now and the future.
For anyone who has not filled in their basic payment scheme application, I would suggest to get right on it and not leave it to the closing date of 15th of May. It is the preference of the Department that as many as possible apply online, as next year all applications must be online. This closing date also includes applications for the young farmers scheme and national reserve as well as transfer of entitlements.
Trade for quality weanlings is reported to be strong as grass buyers, feed lots and exporters all bidding for same cattle.
There is strong demand for finished cattle and short keep stock as numbers are tightening.
Factories are holding firm as numbers have increased.