Price gap at 20 year high as UK beef hits €5/kg
IRISH beef producers are losing over €5m per week as a €5/kg steer price in Britain pushes the gap between Irish and British beef prices to a 20-year peak.
However, the IFA claimed the factories were struggling to get cattle at base quotes below €4/kg, with farmers using the good weather and the Ploughing Championships as reason enough to hold onto stock.
A difference of over €330 per head for 350kg steers, combined with a €135 gap for heifers, multiplied by their respective weekly kills of 12,500hd and 6,500hd adds up to just over €5m per week.
Difficulties in securing supplies had forced some plants to pay a base of over €4.00/kg for steers and €4.15/kg for heifers and bulls.
The IFA's Henry Burns said the British cattle prices were continuing to rise, increasing by 5c/kg in the last week to the equivalent of €5.02/kg. Northern Irish prices also increased, up 7c/kg to the equivalent of €4.38/kg.
He said sterling moves over the last two weeks had added an additional 12c/kg to the returns from our beef exports to Britain.
The difference in 370kg steer prices being paid to Irish and British producers has ballooned to over €350 per animal and the farm organisations have accused meat factories of profiteering as weekly supplies exceed 30,000 head.
Irish beef prices (VAT exclusive) have been declining steadily since June when the base price for R3 steers hit a peak of €4.50/kg. That figure is down to €3.90/kg this week and heifers are at a base of €4/kg compared to €4.60-€4.65/kg earlier this year.