Beef price gap with Britain now €250/hd
Farm leaders demand transparent price index across all EU member states
The IFA has slammed the massive differential between Irish and British beef prices which, it claims, has ballooned to almost €250/hd.
The IFA livestock chairman, Angus Woods, pointed out that British prices of €4.48/kg (including VAT) were at least 70c/kg above Irish returns or almost €250 per head on a finished animal.
He described the recent cuts in factory prices as completely unjustified given the strength of demand in British and continental markets. "Across our main Continental EU beef markets, cattle prices are up 30c/kg since this time last year, with very strong demand for manufacturing beef evident in stronger cull cow prices.
"In Britain, our largest export market, cattle prices are £3.78/kg, equivalent to €4.48/kg including VAT," Mr Woods maintained.
The IFA representative claimed there was no market basis for recent beef price pressure and he blamed "factory opportunism" for eroding beef farmer confidence and compounding an already difficult income year for finishers.
Mr Woods said steer prices this week ranged from €3.75-3.80/kg in the beef plants, while heifer prices were €3.80-3.90/kg, despite factories quoting less.
With weekly kills holding above 37,000 head, a noticeable reduction in fat cattle numbers has been reported in the marts.
Jim Bushe of New Ross Mart said there were fewer heavy cattle on offer in recent weeks, and he predicted that cattle supplies could "tighten up fairly quickly".