IFA Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said beef prices have risen by between 5c and 10c/kg this week as factories struggle to match supplies with demand.
He said base prices for steers are now ranging from €4.35/kg to €4.50/kg. Heifers are ranging from €4.40/kg to €4.55/kg, with higher prices available for larger and specialist lots.
Young bulls are making €4.25/kg to €4.45/kg for R/U grades. Cows continue to make between €3.65/kg and €4.10/kg depending on grade, with specialist factories at the higher end.
“Increased feed and fertiliser costs on beef farms have eroded the price increases from 2021. Despite beef prices running at 50c/kg above last year, for higher stocked beef farms, feed and fertiliser costs have risen by 65c/kg above 2021 levels, based on Teagasc estimates,” he said.
He said these cost increases are not sustainable. There is no capacity on low- income beef farms to absorb this unprecedented increase in production costs and they must be picked up through the supply chain.
“Beef farmers have to be protected from this level of volatility. It’s up to factories to ensure beef prices returned to farmers fully cover these costs,” he said.
Brendan Golden said demand for beef is strong with live export demand for forward store and finished cattle from Northern Ireland providing real competition and underpinning the trade.
He said the supply demand balance in our key export markets, the UK and the EU, is very much in our favour with reduced volumes of South American imports available. Brendan Golden said factories must take full advantage of these conditions to maximise beef price returns to farmers. The IFA Livestock Chairman said factories are actively seeking cattle and farmers should sell hard to maintain the upward momentum in beef prices.