SPECIAL guest, Dr Michael Keane of Beechgrove Analytical Services Ltd, was optimistic about the future for dairying in Ireland and highly complimentary about dairy farming and production in West Cork, when he gave the keynote address at an AIB-hosted Agri Breakfast Briefing in Clonakilty.
More than 75 key industry stakeholders who attended were told that, notwithstanding the difficulties currently experienced and the continued periods of income volatility, there were some positive signs recently which might indicate some uplift in dairy prices from their current lows toward year end. Dr Keane, formerly of UCC, said that ‘dairy futures markets are showing a more positive outlook for dairy products from mid to late 2016 and into 2017.’
He noted that ‘dairy farmers in Cork would be a key driver of dairy growth nationally, with milk production projected to increase to 2.1billion litres by 2021, a 50% increase on 2013 figures.’
AIB agri advisor Donal Whelton, speaking at the event said that ‘AIB understands that 2016 was going to be a difficult year on many Irish dairy farms, but the important thing is to remember that there are a number of support options available and to engage early with the bank if cash flow difficulties are expected or experienced.’
He said that the bank takes take a long-term view of short-term challenges: ‘There is no one universal solution, instead there are a number of support measures that can be tailored upon the individual circumstances. These include, review of monthly repayment commitments, short term increase in working capital facilities, short term loan facilities and an interest-only period on existing borrowings.’
Sean Healy, the AIB regional director, who chaired the session at the Clonakilty Hotel, noted that the bank has a history of supporting farmers and will continue to do so throughout the coming months and years.