Farmers Need to See Some More Return from 15% Rise in Retail Beef Sales

IFA National Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said there needs to be a stronger kick on in beef prices based on the latest positive news of increased sales from both the domestic and UK retail trades, and rising cattle prices in the UK.

“While the food service sector remains a major problem, there needs to be a better return to the farmer from the strong increase in retail sales. Cattle prices are up 10c/15c/kg in the last two weeks, but returns are still loss-making for finishers.”


Brendan Golden said Kantar figures for the Irish market in the last four weeks to April 19th compared to the same period in 2019, volume beef sales are up 14.9%, with mince sales up 26.1% and steak sales up 15.2%. In value terms, sales are up 15.2%.


In the UK, our main export market, retail sales for the 12 weeks to April 19th show beef volumes up 16.2% and spend up 15.3%. Mince sales are reported up 27% and steak sales are up 10.8%.

Cattle prices in the UK are also rising with the AHDB reporting ‘In the week ended May 2nd, prime cattle prices up by 1.5p/kg. Steer prices led the way with prices overall increasing by 1.6p, to 324.4p/kg, carcases meeting the R3 and R4L specs rose in price by 2.4p and 1.8p respectively. Heifer prices posted a more modest gain of 1.0p, to average 324.0p/kg overall’.

“R3 steers were up 2.4p/kg to £3.30/kg, equivalent to €3.95/kg incl vat at 5.4%. O4L cows were up 8p/kg to £2.39/kg equivalent to €2.86/kg”.

The AHDB also said “Young bulls rose in price by over 3p overall, to 314.5p/kg. Cow prices too gained a substantial 5.7p to 216.0p/kg. Those meeting the –O4L spec gained more than 8p to average nearly 238.9p/kg, likely underpinned by the continued strength in demand for minced beef at retail”.

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