Beef Price Not Reflecting Costs on Farms

IFA National Livestock Chair Brendan Golden said beef prices are not reflecting costs farmers are experiencing this year and the persistence of factories in dropping prices is compounding the situation.

He said there is now a differential of 13c/kg differential between our price and the Bord Bia Prime Export Benchmark price and while prices have weakened in our key export markets it is not acceptable that our factories are seen as leading these price drops.

Brendan Golden said factories and Bord Bia must do more to position our beef at the higher end of these markets and return prices that reflect our on-farm costs producing beef of the highest standards.

He said factories are acutely aware of the production costs increases associated with cattle finishing which is set to increase a further 3% in 2023 up from the 28% increase in 2022 based on Teagasc analysis.

Brendan Golden said farmers should reject the lower quotes offered by some factories, deals 10c/kg above quoted prices are available with steers making up to €4.70 to €4.80/kg this week and heifers still securing deals of up to €4.85/kg base price.

Supplies of finished cattle are tight and will tighten further over the coming weeks and months based on projections for the throughput for the year. Live export demand for forward store and finished cattle from NI will also add important competition to the trade.

Based on Bord Bia supply projections for the year, 30,000 less cattle are anticipated for slaughter in the coming months and with grass cattle slow coming to market throughput is expected to remain tight in the coming weeks.

He said strong beef prices in the coming weeks and months are vital if factories want a constant supply of prime cattle year around to maintain normal supply patterns.

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