IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns has said the view in the beef trade this week is that cattle prices have bottomed out and are turning the corner. He said the factory tactic of cutting prices every week to force farmers out with stock has run out of road.
Henry Burns said factories are struggling to get numbers and extremely tight supplies of steers and heifers will drive prices up. He said farmers selling cattle should insist on 5c to 10c/kg over the factory quotes and dig in hard to get prices back up. This week some factories increased their base price for steers to €3.95/kg and €4.05/kg for heifers, just to hold on to stock.
Henry Burns said cattle supplies will defiantly tighten further. The latest official figures from the Department of Agriculture AIMS data for August 1st show that there is a reduction of over 70,000 head in finished cattle availability in the 24 to 36 month age bracket compared to this time last year. He said this is a major reduction in supplies and will leave factories short of stock as we enter the highest beef demand period of the year for beef.
The IFA Livestock leader said factories are currently making plans for the Christmas and New Year demand for beef against a backround of tighter supplies. Some plants are offering contracts to feeders for November/December to try and guarantee supply.
Henry Burns said the cattle price in the our main export market in Britain continues to rise with Bord Bia reporting the R3 steer price at the equivalent of €5.11/kg including vat. He said British prices have risen over the last 7 weeks and supplies are also very tight heading into the high demand season.
Henry Burns said farmers are angry with the unjustified factory price cuts of 40c/kg over the last 8 weeks which had driven producers into loss making territory.