Beef & Sheep UpdateCattleSheep

Beef and Sheep Update 17th July

Sheep and Cattle in Wicklow

Cattle Prices Rising

  • Cattle prices are continuing to rise driven by strong demand, tighter supplies, an abundance of grass and excellent thrive. Factories are paying from €3.70/kg to €3.80/kg base price, with deals on haulage, weight, conformation and fats.
  • Based on the strong prices in our main export market in the UK, which are the equivalent of €4.24/kg, factories can afford to increase prices further.
  • Supplies have tightened and AIMs data shows that there is a reduction of 93,000 in the number of forward cattle on farms compared to last year.

Lamb Prices Rising

  • Strong market driven demand for the EID Muslin festival and a reduction in New Zealand imports is driving the lamb price.
  • Factories are paying €5.65/kg to €5.75/kg with top prices incl bonuses of €5.90/kg paid over the last week. These prices are about 70c/kg ahead of last year.
  • UK lamb prices are also rising at £4.83/kg or the equivalent of €5.56/kg incl vat for w/e July 12th. These prices are 70p/kg ahead of last year.

EU Budget, CAP and MFF

  • EU heads of state, including the new Taoiseach Micheal Martin are in Brussels this weekend to try and negotiate agreement on the next MFF (Multi-lateral Financial Framework) for the EU for 2020-2027.
  • These negotiations are critical for the CAP Budget, EU Green Deal, Covid-19 EU Recovery Plan and Brexit contingency funding.
  • IFA has been campaigning for an increase in the overall CAP budget that would cover inflation and the extra asks on farmers. IFA has made it clear that there can be no cuts for farmer payments.

€50m Beef Finishers Pandemic Payment

  • IFA has made a detailed submission to the Department of Agriculture on the allocation of the €50m Beef Finishers Scheme, secured by the Association following an intensive lobby from April to June.
  • IFA is clear that the payment should be €100 per animal and targeted to beef finishers that incurred the highest losses in terms of price cuts/market disturbance and the highest feeding costs.

Changes to the Bord Bia Grass fed

  • Following further consultation with the IFA over recent weeks, Bord Bia has agreed to the following changes to the grass fed standard;
  • To adapt the scope of the grass fed standard to accommodate young bull beef. This change means young bull beef will now be eligible to be included in the grass fed standard, along with steers, heifers and cows.
  • To provide that the first nine months of an animal’s life (including young bulls) will be deemed as grass fed regardless of whether they were on QA (Quality Assured) or non-QA farm(s).
  • To treat young bulls the same as other animal categories with their qualification as grass fed being dependent on meeting the criteria of the standard concerning the proportion of grass in the diet and grazing days.

Lamb Imports.

  • IFA has written to the Minister for Agriculture about live lamb imports demanding that the Department of Agriculture publish the volumes and origin of all lamb imports on a weekly basis. IFA also met with DAFM senior officials on the issue.


  • Latest Beef price update. 16/7/2020. Steer base €3.70/3.75/kg. Heifers €3.70/3.80/kg. Young Bulls R/U €3.70/3.80kg. Cows €2.90/3.40/kg.
  • Supplies. 35,731 cattle slaughtered last week, July 12th, of which steers were 13,546 (38%), heifers 9,437 (26%), young bulls 2,326 (6%) and cows 9,524 (27%). Total YTD slaughter is 914,628 compared to 960,883 in 2019, a 4.8% decrease.
  • Official Prices. Irish R3 steer prices for w/e June 12th was €3.86/kg incl vat. Heifers R3 €3.8p/kg. Y Bulls O/R/U €3.55/€3.75/€3.92/kg. Cows P/O/R €2.91/3.01/€3.23/kg.
  • UK cattle prices. AHBD report that UK cattle prices remain stable following strong price increase in recent weeks. The UK R3 steer price for week ending July 12th was at £3.68/kg, equivalent to €4.24/kg incl vat. @ an exchange rate of 91.5p/€.
  • Official cattle prices reported to the EU Commission on July 12th. R3 Young Bulls c/kg excl vat; EU Average €3.49/kg, Ireland €3.56/kg, Germany €3.49/kg, France €3.65/kg, Spain €3.45/kg, Austria €3.46/kg Italy €3.79/kg Poland €2.78/kg. Steer Prices; Ireland €3.66/kg, UK €4.02/kg. EU Cow price €2.78/kg +1.57c/kg. Heifers €3.67/kg +4.38c/kg.
  • Live Exports. 4,353 cattle were exported in the week commencing 6/7/2020, 2,835 to EU (Except NI). Live exports for 2020 amount to 188,300 compared to 231,074 in 2019. Total of 136,101 calves exported this year. Strong increase in live exports to Northern Ireland at 30,277 to date this year, compared to 17,926 in 2019.
  • In a positive move on live exports, the Turkish Ministry has recently announced that the live imports of weanling cattle are set to resume in the coming weeks.
  • Curzon Livestock, based out of Cork, are set to export a boat load of young bulls to Libya in the next 10 days. Continental bulls and Friesian bulls.
  • Keep up to date on all IFA work and prices on


  • Lamb Price. For 16/7/2020. Very strong demand for Eid Muslin festival. Factories paying €5.60/5.75/kg.  Top prices €5.90/kg paid to 21.5kgs. Ewes €2.80/2.90/kg.
  • 64,396 sheep were slaughtered at sheep export premises the week ending 12/7/2020, compared to 61,028 in the same week of 2019. Sheep slaughtering’s for 2020 are up 71,429 or 5% up on 2019 at 1,442,029 head.
  • Select and Sell. In selling lambs, select carefully and avoid overweight and under finished lambs. The advice is as always – move lambs as they become fit.
  • In the UK. Lamb price in UK remains very strong, up 70p/kg on last year’s levels. The SQQ (Standard Quality Quotation) at the factories for week ending July 12 was £4.83/kg, which is equivalent to €5.56/kg incl vat.
  • Main New season Bord Bia Lamb TV promotions running from June 1st to 21st. Second wave from July 13th to 28th as part of EU Lamb Try it-Love it campaign.
  • Quality Assurance. IFA has written to Bord Bia requesting a stakeholders meeting to advance Quality assurance on the sheep meat side. IFA has consistently called on factories to increase the QA bonus to 30c/kg in order to increase the number of sheep farmers in the Quality assurance scheme from 12,000.
  • Meeting with Department of Agriculture. IFA recently met with senior officials in the Department of Agriculture to discuss sheep policy issues including the IFA proposal on €30 per ewe, the Sheep welfare Scheme, CAP, Eco schemes, Environmental schemes, Brexit, Trade deals and Lamb imports.
  • IFA will continue to publish lamb prices twice weekly and all of the latest data is on

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