IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said beef prices have strengthened in recent days as tight supplies and strong farmer resistance to the lower and unjustified quotes from factories takes effect.
The Prime Export Benchmark Price for the latest week is steady at €3.76/kg, while the equivalent Irish price dropped 5c/kg, which underlines how unjustified the price cuts are.
Steers are making €3.75 to €3.80/kg, with heifers making €3.80 to €3.85/kg. The cow trade is steady, ranging from €2.90 for P grades to €3.40/kg for R and U grades with some higher prices. Young bulls are ranging from €3.60 to €3.80/kg for R and U grades.
He said IFA left MII in no doubt in our meeting that undermining of the market place by meat factories will not be tolerated and beef prices must reflect the full value of our key markets.
“Supplies of finished cattle are extremely tight. UK slaughter-fit cattle are predicted to be back 5% this year and sterling has continued to strengthen since the end of January. It’s currently at 86p, creating positive market conditions for Irish beef,” he said.
Brendan Golden said factories must reverse the price drops of recent weeks and reflect the full value of the market place in cattle prices.
“While sterling is strengthening, it’s still almost 20% behind the pre-Brexit vote levels and impacting directly on incomes for beef farmers. This is further compounded by sub-standard imports that are allowed into the EU to undermine our key market. The Mercosur trade deal that will allow an additional 100,000t of substandard product into our key markets must be stopped,” he said.
The Brexit Adjustment Fund must prioritise beef farmers who have borne the brunt of the Brexit impact.
Brendan Golden said winter finishers are also dealing with the impact of increasing input supplies. The breakeven price estimated by Teagasc at €4.50/kg is a long way from current prices.