November 25th 2021
Cattle prices paid to beef farmers this week have moved on by 5c/kg to 10c/kg, but, despite this, are still lagging behind returns from key export markets where prices “continue their strong growth”.
That’s according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), which pointed out that the latest prime export benchmark price is €4.24/kg, some 13c/kg above the prime composite price.
Brendan Golden, the association’s livestock chairperson, said this morning (Thursday, November 25) that, since the beginning of October, the price export benchmark has increased by 12c/kg to its current levels.
“Over the same period, factories have held our prices stagnant which is completely unjustified in the current market.”
“Supplies of finished cattle are extremely tight, with last week’s kill dropping to 35,652, a drop of 2,000 cattle in the past two weeks. The steer kill alone was down 1,600 head in the past week,” Golden highlighted.
Based on supply predictions by Bord Bia, which Golden said have been accurate to date, he argued that numbers of finished cattle available to factories over the coming weeks will be limited and that farmers “should take full advantage to drive prices on”.
“Lucrative Christmas orders are being filled by factories as demand for beef heats up in our key markets,” he highlighted.
“Supplies of suitable cattle are extremely tight here and in the UK. Farmers should dig in and sell hard to push factories into paying up to €4.35/kg for steers and 4.40/kg for heifers in specialist and larger lots.
“Young bulls are making €4.15/kg to €4.30/kg. Cull cows are ranging from €3.50/kg to €4.00/kg,” he added.
“Factories must come forward with prices that reflect the reality of the market place and increased production costs as beef farmers experience unsustainable input price inflation,” Golden concluded.
The IFA has expressed similar concerns for sheep farmers, criticising what it claims are moves by meat processors to weaken lamb prices, which it calls “unjustified”.
According to Sean Dennehy, the IFA’s sheep chairperson, market conditions for lamb are favourable at the moment, with factories “at odds” with this.
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