Beef prices are on the rise as cattle supplies around the country tighten and factory agents struggle to secure stock.
Reports suggest factories are now paying a base price of €3.90/3.95/kg for steers and €4.00/4.05 for heifers.
However, IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said factories are having to pay 5-10c/kg above quoted prices in order to get stock. In addition, he said the quoted prices have increased all round.
He said there are some reports of a base price of €4.10 being offered for quality heifers.
The IFA livestock leader said R and U grade bulls are making €4.00/kg. On cows, he said there is a significant jump in prices with P grade cows making up to €3.30/kg.
Beef industry sources conciede that we are entering a ‘tough’ period for beef processors.
“Demand for product is low which hits retail prices and yet farmgate beef prices are rising due to reduced supply of stock,” one source told FarmIreland.
Cattle supplies at Irish export meat plants for the week ending March 17 totalled almost 29,000 head which was on a par with the equivalent week in 2016.
Cumulative supplies of steers and heifers were marginally ahead of 2016 levels.
However, young bulls were down by 11pc while year to date supply of cows were up 17pc on year previous levels.
Overall total cumulative supplies of cattle were standing at around 364,000 head which was up 2% or over 7,000 head on the corresponding period in 2016.
In the UK, Bord Bia says the trade eased slightly again this week on the back of relatively strong supplies.
Cattle prices from the AHDB have shown a decrease in sterling terms and the GB R4L grade steers were averaging at 358.3p/kg dw.
This is the equivalent to 415.80c/kg for the week ended March 18.
In terms of heifer prices, the R3 heifer in Great Britain was making the equivalent of 407c/kg with the Northern Ireland price making on average 399c/kg.
Looking at exchange rates €1 was making on average 86.6 pence sterling during the week.
In France, Bord Bia says the market remains unchanged with difficulties ongoing for imported product.
Its says demand has slowed for most products including offal and traditional cuts.
In Italy, Bord Bia says there is little change was reported in the market.
The R3 young bull price was up 2c on the previous week making on average 401c/kg while the O3 cow price was making 254c/kg.