Factory price collapse costing beef farmers €4m per week

Steer prices down by over 50c/kg with young bulls hardest hit

Farmers escalated their Beef Plan movement protest at Bandon on Wedensday.
Farmers escalated their Beef Plan movement protest at Bandon on Wedensday.
File photo

Martin Ryan

Beef farmers are taking a €4m-per-week hit on factory prices compared to two months ago.

It comes as protests by the Beef Plan Movement at processing facilities continue at several locations across the country.

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This figure is based on the current throughput of steers, heifers and young bulls at the export factories, comparing similar categories, weights and grades for late May to late July.

The prices received by producers, as compiled by the Department of Agriculture, show that the average U-grade steer's price at the week ending July 20 was down by 51c/kg compared to the last week in May.

Traffic backed up at Bandon as farmers escalated their Beef Plan movement protest at Bandon on Wedensday. Picture Denis Boyle
Traffic backed up at Bandon as farmers escalated their Beef Plan movement protest at Bandon on Wedensday. Picture Denis Boyle

The average price paid for R-grade steers dropped by 46c/kg while the average price for O-grade steers was back by 44c/kg.

The prices quoted by the factories were reduced by a further 5c/kg for supplies purchased last week.

Young bulls

Average prices for U-grade young bulls were down 47c/kg to the week ending July 20, while the average R-grade price dropped by 33c/kg and Os were paid 28c/kg less than in May.

Heifer prices fared best in the falling market, but U-grade prices were still back by 19c/kg, while Rs were back by 24c/kg and the Os were down by 28c/kg.

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The quoted prices for both the young bulls and heifers were reduced by 5-10 cents/kg for purchases being made last week.

There was a throughput of 26,289 head across the three categories for the third week in July, comprising 13,147 steers, 9,142 heifers and 4,000 young bulls.

Pictured at a protest outside the ABP Plant at Bandon Co Cork were members of the BEEF Plan movement Cork who are demanding better prices for beef farmers and intend to hold a week long protests at all ABP cork plants. Picture Denis Boyle
Pictured at a protest outside the ABP Plant at Bandon Co Cork were members of the BEEF Plan movement Cork who are demanding better prices for beef farmers and intend to hold a week long protests at all ABP cork plants. Picture Denis Boyle

The drop in the returns is increasing by between €450,000 and €500,000 a week for every 5c/kg reduction in the prices being paid across the three categories of steers, heifers and young bulls.

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