IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said market conditions are strong and stable.
UK prices have started to increase again and prices in the EU remain significantly above ours. The most recent Prime Export Benchmark price is running 12c/kg above Irish prices and when compared with the EU market alone, the differential is greater, resting at 18c/kg above our price.
Supplies to-date are over 90,000 head up on last year with totals for the year projected to be 110,000 to 120,000 stronger. Live exports are performing well with demand improving from Northern Ireland customers over the past few weeks.
Demand is expected to grow from Northern customers for forward store and finished cattle as we move into the backend. Weanling exports are also performing well.
Brendan Golden said there is capacity in the market place for stronger beef prices and factories must start reflecting this to close the gap with prices in our key export markets.
He said farmers are in the process of making key decisions on finishing cattle for the coming months and cannot be expected to take on this risk in the absence of minimum price guarantees from factories for the coming months and into next Spring. Clear direction is needed from factories on price if we are to protect our now well-established, consistent, year-round supplies of cattle.
He said factory prices this week are showing signs of strengthening. Steers are making €4.80 to €5.00/kg base price, heifers €4.85 to €5.05/kg with higher prices for larger and specialist lots.
Young Bulls are making €4.80 to €5.00/kg for R/U grades, with P grade cows starting at €4.50/kg and making up to €5.00/kg for top quality cows.