Farm Ireland

Thursday 17 January 2019

World cup boost for beef farmers

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo shoots at goal from a free kick. Photo: Reuters
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo shoots at goal from a free kick. Photo: Reuters
Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

Beef farmers are set for a World Cup bounce, with the IFA predicting a stronger trade for manufacturing beef in Britain as the festival of football gathers pace in Russia.

IFA livestock chairman, Angus Woods, attributed the recent buoyant demand in Britain to World Cup fever and he forecast that demand could strengthen further should Gareth Southgate’s charges get a good run in the tournament.

 Mr Woods pointed out that British beef prices had reacted to the increased level of demand and VAT inclusive prices had hit €4.51/kg.

 He urged farmers to resist the drive by factories here to push down prices and claimed that cattle supplies remained scarce.

 “The reality for any farmer who has been in a factory lairage over the last two weeks is that numbers are extremely tight and factories are crying out for stock,” Mr Woods maintained.

 The IFA representative insisted that cattle supplies would remain tight for the next number of weeks and he dismissed as “scaremongering” reports that factories were sourcing prime stock more freely this week.

 Last week the factories pulled cow prices by 10c/kg, with O-grade animals generally selling for 350c/kg – back from 360c/kg the previous week.

 The quoted price for bullocks was also pulled 5c/kg last week, falling from 420c/kg to 415c/kg. However, the general consensus in the trade was that factories were forced to hold actual prices to get stock.

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 This week the indications are that factories will pull their quotes back to 410c/kg and try to buy at these levels.

 Factory agents claim that cattle are already beginning to finish off grass. However, Mr Woods insisted that numbers remained tight.

 He said AIMS data showed that male cattle numbers in the 12 to 24 month age category were down 25,000 head compared to last year, and up 23,000 head in the 24 month to 36 month age group. However, with the kill up over 20,000 head to date this year, he claimed a large proportion of this older stock could already be killed.

 On the female beef cattle side, Mr Woods accepted that there was an additional 7,000 in the 24 to 36 month age group, and an extra 21,000 in the 12 to 24 month age category.

 Joe Burke of Bord Bia said that demand for manufacturing beef remained strong in Britain, but he said the trade for high priced cuts was more difficult. He insisted that the fundamentals of the beef trade were strong, with live exports to Turkey expected to increase significantly this autumn, while calf shipments were up 25pc this spring to almost 130,000 head.

 In addition, European beef output is set to fall by 4pc, while beef consumption is forecast to increase by 3pc. As a consequence, the EU is predicting steer and bull prices will strengthen by 1.3pc, with cows expected to be 3.8pc dearer.

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