IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns has said there is more bite in the cattle trade this week with factories actively chasing agents for stock.
He said attempts to buy cattle at lower quoted prices late last week and earlier this week failed, with quotes moving back up to €4.25 base for steers and up to €4.30 paid. For heifers, the base quote has moved back up to €4.35 and €4.40/kg being paid to get stock.
Henry Burns said factories are having to chase farmers for cattle much harder this week and are moving outside their usual catchment areas to get numbers. He said the cow trade has also strengthened with factories freely paying €3.90/kg for mixed loads and over €4.00/kg for Continentals.
He said the recent Bord Bia figures forecasting a reduction in finished cattle supplies in excess of 100,000 head will leave supplies very tight throughout the summer and for the rest of 2015.
Henry Burns said the continuing strength of sterling is leaving returns from our main export market in the UK very positive. He said cattle prices in Britain, our main market, jumped again in the last week by 5p/kg, and are now equivalent to over €5.00/kg.
He said the GB market is up 12p/kg or 17c/kg in the last three weeks, with EBLEX reporting that the summer trade will continue positive on the back of tightening supplies. In Northern Ireland the LMC are reporting prices up another 8p/kg at £3.36/3.38/kg, which is equivalent to €4.95/kg for U grades. He said the Northern Ireland price has increased by 26p/kg or 38c/kg in the last four weeks.