Weather hits cattle supplies
Tighter cattle supplies are expected at the factory gates over the next few months as the poor weather takes a toll, according to a beef expert.
Bord Bia analyst Joe Burke pointed to good growing conditions last year playing a part in the high numbers of cattle being slaughtered last autumn.
"There are likely to be fewer cattle available for the next two to three months," said Mr Burke who was addressing farmers at a livestock seminar organised by Quinns in Co Wicklow.
"On the cattle supply side it is likely the numbers will be that bit lighter and that is going to contribute to a bit more competition among the beef plants for the available supply."
However, he pointed out an additional 60,000 to 80,000 head of cattle were expected to be slaughtered this year - with a rise of 16,000 so far.
Last year live exports fell by 25,000 to 178,000hd with both higher prices in Ireland making it uncompetitive and the impact of the loss of the important Libyan market.
Mr Burke pointed out the Egyptian market had reopened in recent weeks, which presented opportunities but Irish prices were not currently at a level to make the exports viable.
"But you'd be optimistic that it will keep a floor on the market and exporters will be looking at it as a viable option later on in the year perhaps when cattle numbers are higher and maybe if cattle prices decline somewhat," he said.