Brexit will have major consequences for the Irish farming and food sectors. A hard Brexit, with re-erection of customs barriers between the Republic and the UK, will be very serious for the beef sector given half of these exports now go to the UK. In that market beef from the Republic would find itself competing with beef from non-EU countries at prices well below the EU price. Add in tariffs, and exports to our biggest single market for meat would become hugely problematic.
In the dairy sector, given a much lower gap between EU prices and the world price, the effects will not be as dramatic, although we will still face competition from lower-cost third countries.
In trying to redirect our dairy produce to other more profitable EU markets, we will initially be hampered by the fact that some of our dairy products, such as cheddar cheese, are geared towards UK rather than continental tastes. However, over the next number of years the dairy sector will adjust, changing its product lines and finding new markets.