Stronger Beef Markets Means There’s No Basis for Price Pressure


IFA National Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said there was no basis for pressure on cattle prices from the factories. “Prices are rising strongly in our main export market in the UK and also across EU markets and the food service sector is coming back as the economy reopens,” he said.

Brendan Golden said there was no basis for factories to try to lower quoted beef prices as all of the market facts were pointing in the opposite more positive direction.

  • Beef prices in the UK, our major export market, has increased by 15p/kg in the last two weeks to May 30th, with steer prices now reported at £3.51/kg, which is equivalent to €4.16/kg incl vat. This is some 35c/kg (€126 per head) over R3 Irish prices at €3.81/kg for the same week.
  • EU prime cattle prices have also risen strongly in the last two weeks with young bull prices up 7c/kg and heifer prices up 6c/kg to May 31st.
  • The latest DAFM AIMs data on future cattle supplies shows that on April 1st there was a reduction of 103,000 in the number of beef cattle in the 12 to 24-month category, meaning that supplies over the next number of weeks and months will remain much tighter than 2019 levels.
  • The latest retail consumption figures for Ireland from Kanter show continued and very strong growth on beef sales, up 17.4% for the last 12 weeks, compared to 2019 levels. In the UK, AHDB retail data shows beef volume sales up 17.7% and value sales up 19.4%, compared to 2019.
  • Cow prices in the UK have risen rapidly over the last three weeks to May 31st., up 26p/kg with O+3 grade cows making £2.79/kg, equivalent to €3.30/kg incl vat and reflecting the extremely strong manufacturing demand and burger trade.


Brendan Golden said some factories are incorrectly using the excuse of the temporary closure of China as a means for price pressure. However, the Minister and Department of Agriculture has made it clear that this is only a technicality and the market will re-open soon.


The IFA National Livestock Leader said farmers should dig in hard with the meat plants and insist on more than the quoted price.  This is well justified by the stronger market returns over the last number of weeks.

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