Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 February 2018

'Severe beef price cuts damaging mart trade'

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Frustration and anger among beef farmers is very high at the moment, IFA Livestock Chairman Angus Woods has said.

He says severe cuts in beef prices are damaging store and weanling prices and seriously undermining confidence in the sector

IFA representatives are meeting with factories at local level across the country to highlight the rising anger and concern for the future among farmers over loss-making cattle prices.

Woods said despite the weekly kill of the past six weeks running on average at over 4,500 ahead of the same weeks last year - or 65,242 cattle in total ahead of last year – market demand for suitable in-spec cattle is strong.

The IFA Livestock Chairman said factories are eroding the confidence of beef finishers by quoting as low as €3.60/kg and €3.70/kg respectively for steers and heifers while having to pay 5-10c/kg above quotes to secure cattle.

He said €3.65/kg is available throughout the country for steers with up to €3.70/kg paid. €3.75/kg is available for heifers with up to €3.80/kg paid.

The Livestock Chairman said supplies of suitable in-spec cattle are not meeting demand and farmers should not accept the lower and unjustified quotes by factories.

He said in-spec bullocks and heifers are in strong demand from the lucrative UK market where prices continue to outperform what is being paid to Irish farmers.

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British cattle prices have risen by 41p/kg or 13% since May, while Irish cattle prices have fallen from a base of €4.10/kg in June to €3.60/kg, a reduction of 12%.

Beef kill

According to Bord Bia, cattle supplies at Irish export meat plants for the week ending October 22 were over 36,000 head which was around 19% or 6,000 head higher compared to the corresponding week last year.

Cumulatively, it says supplies of young bulls are up 29% compared to the equivalent period in 2015 while cows are up 9% on 2015 numbers.

Heifers are up 2% while steers are up 1% on year previous levels. Total year to date supply at export meat plants is up 5% or over 61,000 head at around 1.32 million head.

Bord Bia says the latest net production figures are showing a 4% rise in production across export meat plants and local abattoirs from January to September 2016 compared to the equivalent period in 2015.

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