IFA National Livestock Committee Chairman Michael Doran said the cattle trade remains steady despite negative factory price propaganda. He said with tight supplies and strong export market outlets and prices, the prospects for the autumn cattle trade are positive.
Mr Doran said farmers need to be strong in dismissing the negative price propaganda from the factories and agents. “The key factors that drive the beef trade and strong cattle prices are very positive and this must be returned to farmers.”
Finished cattle supplies, to date this year, are down 36,000 head at the factories and are forecast to be back over 100,000 head by year end;
Currently supplies are running at 30,000 head per week. Based on projected supplies, the average kills between now and year-end will be less than 30,000 per week;
Department of Agriculture AIMS data for April 2011 shows cattle numbers in the 12 to 30 month age categories down 188,000 head compared with 2010;
Live exports in 2010 were very strong, up 20% at 350,000 head;
These combined factors mean cattle supplies at the factories will be very tight for the remainder of 2011;
To date this year, R3 grade steer prices are up 15%, at an average of €3.52/kg;
Cattle prices for R3 steers in the UK, our main export market, are currently at the equivalent to €3.80-€3.85/kg.<span> UK prices have risen over the last 3 to 4 weeks;</span>
UK cattle supplies were up 9% for the first half of 2011 and are forecast to be tighter by 4% for the second half of the year;
Cattle prices in our main EU markets for R3 males are running at the equivalent of; Italy €3.83/kg, Germany €3.70/kg, France €3.55/kg and Spain €3.54/kg;
International beef prices remain very strong at the equivalent of; €2.98/kg in Uruguay, €2.82/kg in Argentina and €2.74/kg in Brazil. More importantly large supply volumes from these markets are not available;
Demand for Irish beef on international markets is growing with exports to Russia for the first 5 months at 3,322t compared to 334t last year. International enquiries for Irish beef are strong and growing;
The value of the fifth quarter is very strong, worth the equivalent of 25 – 30c/kg. The export value of hides and skins for the first 5 months of this year has increased by 170% compared to 2009 according to CSO data.
Michael Doran said there is no basis for any weakening in cattle prices as we head into the Autumn. He said it is vitally important that negative factory propaganda is dismissed and farmers secure the true and full value for their stock.