Rises in Beef Prices Must Continue – IFA

IFA Livestock chair Declan Hanrahan said beef price rises of 10c/kg over the past week must continue.

He said demand for beef in our key UK and EU markets is strong with supplies in these markets reducing for the year, creating real potential for strong and sustained growth in beef prices here.

EU beef production dropped 4% in 2023, with a further reduction of 1% projected for this year. UK beef supplies are predicted to tighten in particular for the second half of the year and into 2025 as figures show the numbers of cattle under 12 months of age to be down 3% year on year.

“These figures provide real opportunity for Bord Bia and meat factories to increase volumes and returns for Irish beef from these high value markets which must be returned to farmers,” he said.

Declan Hanrahan said the roll out of the PGI for Irish Grass Fed Beef on the Italian market must add further value to our beef exports and be returned in higher beef prices to farmers.

“Market conditions and supplies of beef cattle are pointing prices in only one direction and this upward momentum must continue in prices paid to farmers.”

Prices for next week have risen a further 5c-10c/kg, with factories leaving no cattle behind as they try to fill orders to meet the demand from key customers. Steer base prices are €5.15 to €5.25/kg. Heifers are making from €5.20 to €5.30/kg, young bulls grading R and U are ranging from €5.30 to €5.50/kg. Demand for cull cows continues to strengthen with P grades in most factories starting at €4.20 to €4.30/kg and moving all the way up to €4.90/kg for good quality young continental cows in specialist factories.

He said supplies of beef cattle here are conservatively predicted to be back 30-40,000 head for the year by Bord Bia, a figure that is likely to increase with the very positive start to the live export trade for stores and finished cattle to-date this year.

Live exports for the first 10 weeks of the year are up over 55% for stores and finished cattle alone, a pattern that is expected to continue. To-date 7,653 cattle have been shipped to markets outside the EU while the trade with the UK has also gotten off to a firm start with 8,077 cattle making the journey to Northern Ireland and a further 1,000 animals exported to Great Britain.

Declan Hanrahan said this important trade will provide much needed competition to factories for beef cattle for the year ahead.

He said farmers should sell hard to ensure the realities of the market conditions are reflected in beef price and the upward momentum continues.

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