Demand for Cattle Strong – IFA

IFA President Eddie Downey said demand for cattle remains strong with factories paying €4.00/kg base price for heifers and €3.90 to €3.95 base price for steers. He said with the large kills of recent weeks, supplies are expected to tighten sharply.

Eddie Downey said the Christmas market demand for beef, especially in our main market in the UK, is particularly strong, where prices have reached the equivalent of €4.75/kg for R3 grade steers. He said with all of the grass cattle gone at this stage, farmers selling cattle out of sheds need to see prices kick in order to make a margin. A lot of different deals on prices are being done to get cattle, ranging from a base price of €4.00/kg for heifers to an all-in price of €4.10/kg for R grade steers in some outlets.

At a meeting with the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney in Dublin this week, Eddie Downey said it is vitally important that all of the agreed outcomes from the Minister’s Beef Forum are fully implemented by the factories. Eddie Downey said he raised a number of issues with the Minister where some meat plants have imposed dual base prices around non Quality Assured stock and weight penalties contrary to what was agreed at the Beef Forum. Eddie Downey told the Minister that this is a very serious issue that he must take up with directly with MII and the factories.

Eddie Downey said the Beef Forum outcome is very clear and states “processors agree there will be no dual base pricing for steers or heifers in individual processing plants, by breed, age or weight or Quality Assurance status.” The Beef Forum outcome also states “Processors will agree not to impose any price penalties on any animals based on weight up to 31st December 2015.”

IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said the Teagasc headline that Beef Farm incomes are down 5% in 2014 completely hides the real income crisis in the livestock sector and conceals the fact that the latest income fall comes on top of cuts in the order of 13% to 22% in 2013, when livestock incomes ranged from €9,469 to €15,595. He said the stark reality of the situation is that most livestock farmers suffered a price cut ranging from €150 to €200 per head on finished cattle all year and lost money.

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