“There are big opportunities with dairy expansion, but there are also big challenges,” AIB agri-adviser Tadhg Buckley told AIB’s ‘Prospects for Irish Agriculture’ seminar in Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork.
“Expansion must be done for the right reasons. There is a great opportunity, but it is not for everybody. The dairy sector in Northern Ireland has expanded by 40% in terms of yield per cow since 1995, but they are still less profitable than farmers in the South.”
Others to address the seminar included AIB chief executive, David Duffy, AIB agri-specialist Michael Dowling, and Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney. The bank outlined its commitment to agri-food funding, while urging the need to focus on profitability.
The bank’s executives highlighted cash-flow management and planning for volatility as key for farmers in the year ahead. The bank cited a drop of €12,500 in dairy sector income from 2011 to 2012; versus a jump of €29,000 from 2012 to 2013.
“Price volatility will impact upon every farmer’s business in the coming years,” said Tadhg Buckley. “The main way to manage that is to improve your business, to keep it as low cost and efficient as possible. You can build cash reserves in a good year; you can get fixed price contracts; and you can arrange working capital with your bank.”
AIB agri-adviser Patrick O’Meara, Justin McCarthy, Irish Farmers’ Journal, and Bernard Byrne, AIB, are hosting a free seminar at 8pm tonight in Clonmel Park Hotel, Co Tipperary.