IFA President Eddie Downey said cattle prices and supplies are on an extremely fine balance and the real tightness in the supplies of steers and heifers has yet to kick in. It is projected the kill could be back by 3,000/4,000 per week when the real tightness kicks in and this will leave farmers with steers and heifers in a much stronger position.
The IFA President said this should give confidence to the trade and with the improved weather this week, farmers are resisting the price pressure and agents are finding it much harder to buy stock at the lower quoted prices.
Eddie Downey said farmers are very annoyed with the recent price cuts from the factories which make no sense against the strength of the UK market and sterling.
The IFA President said farmers know there is a good supply of grass and understand that cattle supplies will remain tight throughout the autumn. The facts are cattle numbers in the 12-36 month age bracket are down 100,000 head on this time last year and this will defiantly tighten supplies for the next 12 months. In addition, the kill to date this year is down only 40,000, and this reduction is made up of young bulls and cull cows. He said the real tightness in steers and heifers has yet to materialise and this will leave prime cattle very tight, with the kill back 3,000/4,000 head over the coming weeks and months.
On new markets, Eddie Downey said the announcements from the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney and the Government on access to the US and China must be turned into real delivery and increased exports.
Eddie Downey said Minister Coveney needs to take action now on removing the technical obstacles holding back exports to these new markets in order to deal with increased cattle numbers in the pipeline for 2017 and to prevent a repeat of the severe beef price and income problems of 2014. He said there must be real delivery on getting real access to new markets.
Henry Burns said farmers at the Tullamore Show were dismissing the usual propaganda being wheeled out from the factories that they are losing money and they want to pull back store prices. He said none of these arguments stand up against a UK price which is the equivalent to €5.33/kg and sterling at 70.5p against the €uro.
Henry Burns said the factories are trying to buy cattle this week at a base of €4.10/4.15 for steers and €4.20/4.25 for heifers. He said a lot of deals have been done at €4.15/4.20 on steers and some deals at €4.25 for early this week. He said agents are saying numbers are tightening as the week progresses and the change in the weather, and they are finding it much more difficult to buy at the lower quoted prices.