IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said at current cattle price levels winter finishers are shipping major losses, which is not sustainable. He said prices are 25c/kg or €90 per head below this time last year.
Cattle prices at the factories are at a base of €3.75/kg for steers and €3.85/kg for heifers. Cow prices are ranging from €2.60 to €3.30/kg with R grades at €3.00+/kg.
Angus Woods said it was positive to see that the downward trend in UK cattle prices had turned and prices had risen in the last week of 2018 by up to 3.8p/kg. He said UK R3 steer prices were making £3.62/kg, which was equivalent to €4.24/kg.
“IFA is meeting with the live exporters tomorrow and will be targeting a record year for live exports in 2019. Live exports last year reached close to 190,000 head, of which 161,000 head were calves. For 2019, Minister Creed needs to be looking at doubling the number of live exports.”
The IFA Livestock leader said the Agriculture Minister must ensure that there are no restrictions to the live trade and every effort is made to maximise live export numbers. In addition, he said the policy at both national and EU level needs to be more supportive of the trade.