17 Apr 2020


Cattle, COVID-19, Prices
  • Cattle Price Update. 16/4/2020. Steer base €3.40. Heifers €3.40. Y Bulls €3.20/3.50/kg. Cows €2.30/2.90/kg.
  • 26,706 cattle slaughtered last week, of which steers were 11,182 (42%), heifers 8,203 (31%), young bulls 2,443 (9%) and cows 4,078 (15%). Total YTD slaughter is 512,076 compared to 530,059 in 2019, a 3.4% decrease.
  • Feeders continue to experience difficult in getting cattle killed with major difficulties on bulls and out of spec cattle. Restrictions on kill numbers at most plants.
  • Some plants more anxious for in-spec stock in the last week as supply numbers tighten.
  • Some official cattle prices reported to the EU Commission on April 12th R3 Young Bulls c/kg excl vat; EU Average €3.44/kg, Germany €3.52/kg, France €3.66/kg, Spain €3.58/kg, Austria €3.40/kg Italy €3.54/kg Poland €2.73/kg. Steer Prices; Ireland €3.45/kg, UK €3.78/kg. These prices are down by 5c to 20c/kg over the previous two weeks.
  • DAFM reported Irish R3 steer prices for the same period were €3.62/kg.
  • UK R3 steers were making £3.35, equivalent to €4.00/kg at 88p/€ and incl 5.4% vat.
  • The latest R3 cattle prices (w/e April 5th.) from Bord Bia.

  • The COVID-19 crisis has impacted hard on UK cattle prices in the w/e April 12th. Overall deadweight prices fell 8p/kg, with R4L steers back 5p/kg, heifers down 4p/kg, young bulls down 15p/kg and cows down 2.5p/kg.
  • Extremely difficult beef market situation across the EU. While there is an increase in retail demand for mostly mince and diced beef this has not made up for the closure in the food service sector. The position is compounded in Ireland due to our strong export dependence.
  • Kantar data for Irish retail shows beef volume sales up 22.6% for the 4 weeks to March 22nd. Value was up 19.3%.
  • In the UK, sales of mince beef at retail were up 45% for the 4 weeks to march 22nd.
  • 9,438 cattle were exported in the week ending April 5th. 9,041 to EU (Except NI). Live exports for 2020 amount to 111,980 compared to 122,0385 in 2019. To-date this year, 86,938 calves have been exported.
  • Roundwood Livestock Ltd, a new live export company based in Wicklow, with Dr Ahmed Salman as the principle, has secured a Government contract to supply 12,000 bulls and steers to Algeria and loaded a boat out of Waterford this week.
  • Purcells and Viastar also buying bulls for export to Libya and Turkey.
  • IFA Payment Policy; Insist on payment on the day or sell through your local mart where payment is secure.
  • New mart arrangements are proving difficult to operate. Calves are easier to handle but significant problems establishing the value of older stock in the absence of the auction ring.
  • IFA is demanding that 100% of the BPS and other direct payment schemes will be made in the early autumn. The DAFM has paused the majority of inspections for the next 2 weeks. The nitrates deadline extended to end of June.
  • €90 Suckler Payment. Reminder to make sure to make your BEEP-Suckler application for €80/€90 per suckler cow by May 15th closing date. Also make your BPS application early, before the May 15th closing date.

General Issues

  • Intensive IFA lobby of all TDs and MEPs by National Livestock Committee and County Chairs working with the Dairy Committee on the need for immediate Government and EU action to address the market and income crisis on beef as a result of the COVID-19 Emergency.
  • IFA demands and action are based on market supports around an effective type of APS (Aids to Private Storage) and direct payment to farmers on price losses. IFA are also demanding action to suspend non-EU beef imports.
  • At National level IFA are requesting Minister Creed to immediately make available the c€24m in unspent BEAM funds to farmers selling finished cattle at a major loss.
  • In Brussels, IFA is working with COPA and all the relevant EU Commissioners and Commission officials have all been made fully aware of the very difficult situation at farm level in Ireland. In addition, key players from other member states have been briefed with particular focus on the French, Polish and Italians on beef and the French on sheep.
  • IFA has been in contact with the major banks seeking flexibilities on all facilities including overdraft/stocking and term loans. IFA has also put proposals to Government for low interest loan facilities up to €200k to be made available to farmers.
  • IFA secured clarification regarding farmers eligibility for the weekly COVID-19 payment of €350 per week.
  • Keep up to date on all IFA work on ifa.ie/covid19.
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