February 22, 2022


Farmer association wants beef cattle in Ireland at US$5.66/kg



The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) Livestock Committee chair has said that €5/kg (US$5.66) "must be the target" for beef cattle.


Brendan Golden, chairman of the committee, outlined that demand for beef in the key Irish export markets is currently "extremely strong". He explained that the Prime Export Benchmark Price surged in recent weeks and is now 4c/kg above Ireland's price, which he said indicated the strength of demand for beef in both the UK and EU markets.


"Cattle supplies in the UK since the start of the year are running 10% below last year's levels, providing a real opportunity for factories to increase prices to farmers," he commented.


Last week saw another welcome rise in beef prices. Golden said that the starting base price for steers is €4.40/kg (US$4.98), while for heifers it is €4.45/kg (US$5.04) in most factories.


In a bid to secure cattle, Golden outlined that factories are paying 5c to 10c/kg above quotes – pushing prices to €4.50/kg (US$5.09) and €4.55/kg (US$5.15) respectively.


There is strong demand for cull cows leading to a starting price of €3.70/kg (US$4.19) for P grades and pushing to €4.20/kg (US$4.75) for good quality R/U grades.


O-grading cows in general are ranging from €3.80/kg (US$4.30) to €4.00/kg (US$4.53). R/U grading young bulls are making from €4.30/kg (US$4.87) to €4.45/kg (US$5.04).


"All in, prices for some cattle have brought €5/kg (US$5.66) very much into play and this must be the target," Golden stated.


However, the chairman noted that the rising prices were against a backdrop of increased production costs which "have eroded all of these gains".


"Based on Teagasc estimates, on some beef farms, fertiliser and feed costs alone are increasing production costs by 65c/kg," Golden said.


As beef farmers cannot absorb input price rises, he said that "factories must return the full value of the strengthening beef market".


With supplies tight, Golden has advised farmers to "sell hard" as factory agents are "very active" in trying to source cattle.


The chairman noted that this demand is feeding into mart sales, with prices for finished and forward store cattle and cows very competitive compared to prices offered by some factories.


- Agriland

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