Business Farming

Thursday 2 October 2014

Beef finishers floored by 18pc drop in prices

Martin Ryan

Published 08/07/2014 | 02:30

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The gap between Irish and British prices for both steers and heifers has grown to its widest in several years.

While it might have been the sunniest June in 74 years down in the southwest, it has turned out to be the worst mid-summer season for beef finishers in years.

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Despite increasing output by 15pc this year, it appears that farmers will actually be worse off following an 18pc drop in the average prices.

Department of Agriculture figures show that the drop equates to an average fall of €300 per animal on 2013.

At the same time, the gap between Irish and British prices for both steers and heifers has grown to its widest in several years.

Weekly supplies to the beef processing plants is a little more than 31,000 head at the moment, compared to fewer than 27,000 in 2013.

The average return on 340kg R3 heifer was down by €302/hd from €1,662/hd in 2013 to €1,360 in 2014.

The value of a 360kg R3 steer fell from €1,670/head to €1,389/hd. These are the lowest prices delivered to the producers since 2011.

In June 2013, the Irish processors paid an average of €7/hd above the British price for a 340kg R3 heifer.

However, this year Irish prices have trailed Britain by €102/hd.

Irish prices for a 360kg R3 steer trailed British equivalents by €97/head in 2013.

This year, that difference has increased to €162/hd.

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