IFA National Livestock Committee Chairman Angus Woods said the lower quotes offered by meat factories this week are not reflective of the strong market sentiment that exists in the UK and EU beef markets.
He said supplies of prime beef cattle in Britain are extremely tight, back by almost 10% last week. As a result, prices have continued to strengthen, rising by over 6c/kg over the course of the week.
Angus Woods said, “The lighter carcase weights this year, the strong live export trade to international markets and the increased kill to-date with the drop in slaughterings in Britain all contribute to less beef being available and provide very favourable market conditions for our beef”.
He said there is no backlog of beef in store and supplies of in-spec cattle on the ground are not meeting factory demand to fill the deficit in the UK supply. This is very evident from the level of factory agent activity in trying to secure cattle for immediate slaughter. Good grass growth and cattle thriving well is allowing farmers to strongly resist the current price pressure.
The IFA Livestock Chairman said there is clearly no market basis for pressure on cattle prices at the moment and this move by the factories to pull quotes and talk down the trade is an attempt to force out very tight supplies of prime cattle by undermining confidence.
Angus Woods said steers are being bought this week in general at a base price of €4.05/kg, but ranging from €4.00 to €4.10/kg. Heifers are generally making €4.15/kg as a base price but ranging from €4.10 to €4.20/kg. He said factories are reluctant to leave cattle behind and farmers should strongly resist the lower unjustified quotes on offer.