Beef & Sheep Update 20th June

Cattle and Sheep in Wickow Field

New €50m Beef Finishers Scheme  

  • Following an intensive campaign over recent weeks, IFA has secured funding of €50m for a new Beef Finishers Scheme in response to the COVID-19 and other market disturbances.
  • IFA welcomed the scheme, which was announced by the Minister for Agriculture on Friday June 12th.
  • Beef finishers have incurred significant beef price losses from COVID -19 and other market disturbances this spring resulting in severe economic impact on their farm enterprises and family farm income.
  • IFA has held a number of meetings with the Department of Agriculture on the support package and made a detailed submission on proposals for the scheme this week.
  • The IFA made a number of important points in respect of the scheme including;
  • The scheme must be for cattle finishers and payment targeted at finishers who incurred the most financial losses.
  • All finished cattle should be covered in the scheme including steers, heifers, young bulls and cows, with the exception of cows with conformation score P and fat score 1 and calves. The Minister has made it clear factory owned and dealer owned cattle will not be covered.
  • The payment rate must be a minimum of €100 per finished animal.
  • Payments should apply to finished animals retrospectively from the announcement date by the Minister in order to prevent factories using the support in an anticompetitive way to manipulate prices on cattle going forward.
  • There should be no restrictive limit on the number of eligible animals per farm which qualify.
  • The terms and conditions of the scheme must be simple and farmer friendly.
  • There can be no conditionality attached to the scheme.
  • The full funding of €50m must be utilised and paid out under the scheme. The terms and conditions must be structured a way to ensure the total funding amount of €50million is paid out to farmers and none of the funds are left unused.
  • The application process should be simple and opened for farmers to apply immediately.
  • Payment should be made to all eligible applicants on or before the end of August, so as to ease the severe financial difficulties on finishing farms and also assist the weanling and store cattle trade in the second half of the year.
  • The payment should apply to all finished cattle sold in the marts, provided those cattle were slaughtered within 30 days of purchase. The payment should go to the farmer who sold the animal regardless of who purchased the animals in the mart.
  • The payment should apply to finished cattle exported live to Northern Ireland.
  • The payment should apply to finished cattle exported live to international markets.
  • It should be structured in such a way under EU state aids approval under the COVID-19 Temporary State Aid Framework so as to ensure all cattle finishers that apply get paid on all eligible cattle.
  • The scheme should positively accommodate farm partnerships and not in any way discriminate against individual farmer members in partnerships.
  • IFA is available for further consultation with the Department of Agriculture on the scheme.


  • Latest Beef price update. 17/6/2020. Steer base €3.60/kg. Heifers €3.60/3.65. Young Bulls R/U €3.60/kg. Cows P/O €2.80/2.90/kg.
  • Supplies. 36,182 cattle slaughtered in the week June 14th, of which steers were 13,104 (36%), heifers 10,468 (29%), young bulls 3,175 (9%) and cows 8,691 (24%). Total YTD slaughter is 768,125 compared to 821,345 in 2019, a 6.5% decrease.
  • Official Prices. Irish R3 steer prices for w/e June 14th. was €3.81/kg incl vat. Heifers R3 €3.85/kg. Y Bulls O/R/U €3.46/€3.66/€3.79/kg. Cows P/O/R €2.76/2.86/€3.09/kg.
  • UK cattle prices. AHBD report that UK cattle prices continue to rise strongly up another 5.5p/kg for week ended June 7th. R3 steers are at £3.65/kg, equivalent to €4.32/kg incl vat. The UK cattle price has increased by 35p/kg between April 25th and June 13th, see graph hereunder. Irish prices rose by 22c/kg in the same period.

  • Official cattle prices reported to the EU Commission on June 14th. R3 Young Bulls c/kg excl vat; EU Average €3.50/kg -1.98c/kg, Germany €3.54/kg, France €3.66/kg, Spain €3.48/kg, Austria €3.48/kg Italy €3.59/kg Poland €2.82/kg. Steer Prices; Ireland €3.62/kg, UK €4.05/kg. EU Cow price €2.73/kg +3.926c/kg. Heifers €3.63/kg +1c/kg.
  • Live Exports. 5,167 cattle were exported in the week commencing 8/6/2020, 3,325 to EU (Except NI). Live exports for 2020 amount to 169,087 compared to 220,250 in 2019.
  • Calf exports of 128,125 to June 1st.
  • Keep up to date on all IFA work and prices on


  • Lamb Price. For 17/6/2020. Strong demand. Factories paying €5.60/kg. Top prices €5.70/kg paid to 21.5kgs. Ewes €2.60/2.70/kg.
  • 61,733 sheep were slaughtered at sheep export premises the week commencing 08/6/2020, compared to 54,496 in the same week of 2019. Sheep slaughtering’s for 2020 are 5% up on 2019 at 1,194,109 head.
  • In selling lambs, select carefully and avoid overweight and under finished lambs. The advice is as always – move lambs as they become fit.
  • In the UK for week ending June 13th lambs made £4.93/kg equivalent to €5.83/kg.
  • Main New season Bord Bia Lamb TV promotions running from June 1st to 21st. Second wave from July 13th to 28th as part of EU Lamb Try it-Love it campaign.
  • Quality Assurance. IFA has called on factories to increase the QA bonus to 30c/kg in order to increase the number of sheep farmers in the Quality assurance scheme from 12,000.
  • New Zealand/EU Trade Deal. IFA has lobbied Minister Creed and written to the Department of Agriculture on the concerns of sheep farmers over any proposal to increase in the NZ TRQ of 228,254t, especially considering the massive uncertainty with Brexit.
  • IFA will continue to publish lamb prices twice weekly and all of the latest data is on

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