Published Wednesday, 08 August 2012
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Fears over rising feed costs and persistent, difficult weather conditions have been on the minds of many farmers in Northern Ireland, who believe they are facing a bleak winter.
UTV went to the final agricultural show of the year in Co Fermanagh on Wednesday - the Fermanagh County Show - to assess the mood.
Over 10,000 people gathered in Enniskillen to take part, but it was the current pressures facing the farming industry that most were talking about.
Many said the poor summer weather has already sent farm production costs soaring, while unrest is growing about the prices farmers are receiving for their produce.
Dairy farmer Albert Foster said: "There's a lot of farmers very downbeat.
"They're finding it hard to cope with the weather and the conditions on their own home farm and what to do with livestock.
"In Fermanagh we're getting used to housing stock during the summer time but it's happening more frequently."
Beef farmer Andrew Wilson said: "Feed prices have gone through the roof.
"The price for produce has deteriorated in the last two to three months because presumably the weather conditions in Fermanagh and overall Northern Ireland and GB as a whole."
The UFU predicts that feed costs for local farmers this winter will jump by £150 million compared to last year.
It plans to meet with supermarket bosses in the next few weeks.
"A lot of them are struggling at the moment to meet bills," said president Harry Sinclair.
"But people are borrowing more money to keep going. It's just generally a difficult year."
Despite the difficulties farmers were just trying to unwind at the show.
However they are warning the industry is in a vulnerable position and will remain there until these challenges are addressed.
UUP MEP Jim Nicholson said: "It's brilliant today - blue skies and the sun is shining - but we had weeks and indeed months of rain which has meant the ground is sodden, farmers have had the cattle in the houses which has meant extra cost, extra expense.
"While we have been suffering in the wet weather here, in the United States they have suffering a severe drought which is driving the grain prices through the roof.
"I think it's been one of the worst in maybe 20 years."