IFA National Livestock Committee Chairman Michael Doran said the cattle trade remains strong with factories paying a base price of €4.00/kg for steers and €4.10/kg to €4.15/kg for heifers.
Michael Doran said demand is very strong for the Christmas trade and In spec steers and heifers are commanding premium prices at the factories.
The IFA livestock leader said the beef market prospect going forward remain very positive. He said across the UK and EU markets production is down, exports are up, imports are down and prices are rising. The world beef market has been transformed over the last 12 months with prices in South America, North America, Australia and other major producing countries approaching EU levels of €3.50/€3.80/kg. He said this is a fundamental and unprecedented change in the beef market.
In the UK Michael Doran said production is forecast to be down by 6% next year and prices are continuing to rise at €4.15/kg and up to €4.27/kg in Scotland for R grade steers.
In Ireland, Bord Bia are forecasting supplies to be down by up to 90,000 head for 2012 with prime steer supplies back 70,000 head and heifers down 37,000 head. Michael Doran said this will leave cattle extremely tight at the factories next spring and for 2012. He said factories were still trying to contract cattle for early next year.
The IFA livestock leader pointed out that for the first 8 months of 2011, the EU ran a net beef deficit of 200,000t. He said EU beef exports reached 420,000, compared imports at 214,000t. This is a reflection of the very strong world market for beef. Michael Doran pointed out that EU countries had exported 119,000t to Turkey, 85,000t to Russia and a further 213,000t to other destinations all over the world.
On EU beef imports, Michael Doran said imports from South America had declined significantly with Brazil down to 80,000t from 363,000t in 2007. Imports from Argentina to the end of August are also back at 42,000t compared to 122,000t in 2009.