Beef & Sheep UpdateCattleSheep

Beef & Sheep Update 7th August

Sheep and Cattle in Wicklow

€50m Beef Finishers Payment

  • Following a strong lobbying effort, the IFA President Tim Cullinan has welcomed the announcement from Minister Dara Calleary on the details of the Beef Finishers Payment (BFP) which were announced on Wednesday 5th of August 2020.
  • The BFP was announced in recognition of the negative impact Covid-19 had on Irish beef prices.  This impact was developed further by restrictions preventing them getting cattle to market and the closure of the food service market.
  • The BFP will be funded by the Irish exchequer and has been notified to the European Commission in accordance with the Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework.
  • It has been estimated that 42,000 farmers will be eligible to apply for the payment.
  • The significant economic activity of beef farmers and strong multiplier effect in rural communities was noted in the DAFM announcement.
  • Key Information:
  • Applications: Opening date 19th August 2020. Closing date 9th September 2020.
  • Payment: €100 per eligible animal. Subject to a linear cut if over subscription occurs.
  • Reference Period: Applies to cattle slaughtered from the 1st February to 12th June 2020.
  • Conditions: Limit of 100 animals per herd. Applicant must be a member of the Bord Bia Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme or apply to become a member before the 30th of September 2020.
  • Eligible Animals’ Slaughtered:
    • Slaughtered in the reference period of 1 February to 12 June 2020.
    • Aged 8 months or more when slaughtered
    • Resident on the qualifying herd for at least 30 days prior to slaughter (if not the previous owner is eligible for payment if they are an applicant and have had the animal for over 30 days on their holding)
    • Animals identified on the Department systems as presented for slaughter by or on behalf of a factory will not be eligible.
    • Subject to a cap on payments in respect of 100 eligible animals per herd.
  • Eligible Applicants:
    • A farmer who has presented animals for slaughter in the reference period
    • The holder of an active herd number with Herd Owner Status.
    • Farming a holding in respect of which a valid Basic Payment Scheme application has been submitted in 2020 to the Department.
    • Agent or Dealer herd numbers are not eligible for payment
    • Conditionality: Applicant must be a member of the Bord Bia Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme at the time of application, or undertake to become a member of a quality scheme prior to 30 September 2020.

Further information will become available in due course at:

Bord Bia Sustainable Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme Auditing

  • On the 18th of March 2020, Bord Bia postponed all audits across all schemes on advice of the Department of health and the HSE.
  • This was followed by remote auditing to continue to ensure the continued safety of all members and auditors.
  • Bord Bia are currently in the process of providing all necessary training and PPE to all auditors for the return to onsite auditing.
  • Auditors will use the Government COVID Tracker App on the day of each audit to confirm that they are not experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms before arriving on farms.
  • All auditors must also have an adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) with them for the audit.
  • Looking forward farmers that are member of the Sustainable Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme will have two options in terms of auditing:
  1. Remote auditing which, if successful, will result in a certificate period of 12-months.
  2. 2. Full on-site audit which, if successful, will result in a full 18-month certificate.
  • Bord Bia intend to start scheduling these audits from Monday 10th of August.
  • Important to note that all auditors will follow the strict government guidelines with regards to physical distancing and all other advised procedures.


  • Latest Beef price update. 06/08/2020. Steers €3.70/3.75. Heifers €3.75/3.80. Y Bulls R/U €3.75/3.80. Cows €3.00/3.50/kg.
  • Supplies. 35,245 cattle slaughtered this week, of which steers were 16,500 (47%), heifers 9,346 (27%), young bulls 1,577 (5%) and cows 7,019 (20%). Total YTD slaughter is 1,024,046 compared to 1,059,727 in 2019, a 3.7% decrease.
  • Official Prices. Week 31 (27/07/20 – 02/08/20) Irish R3 steer prices were €3.95/kg incl vat. Heifers R3 €3.98/kg. Y Bulls O/R/U €3.59/€3.78/€3.93/kg. Cows P/O/R €3.05/3.14/3.78/kg.
  • UK Cattle Prices. AHBD report that UK cattle prices increased slightly last week. The average UK steer price for week ending August 1st was at £3.67/kg, equivalent to €4.07/kg. @ an exchange rate of 90p/€.
  • Official cattle prices reported to the EU Commission. Wk 31 (27/07/2020 – 02/08/2020). R3 Young Bulls c/kg excl vat; EU Average €3.47/kg, Ireland €3.78/kg, Germany €3.58/kg, France €3.63/kg, Spain €3.41/kg, Austria €3.43/kg Italy €3.57/kg Poland €2.91/kg. Steer Prices; Ireland €3.69/kg, UK €4.06/kg. EU Cow price €2.79/kg +0.64c/kg. Heifers €3.62/kg +1.08c/kg.
  • Live Exports. 3546 cattle were exported in the week ending 27/07/2020. 1918 to EU (Except NI). Live exports for 2020 amount to 195,136 compared to 235,154 in 2019. Total of 137,725 calves exported this year. Continued strong increase in live exports to Northern Ireland at 33,378 to date this year, compared to 19,004 in 2019.


  • Lamb Price. 06/08/2020. Ewes €60/2.80. Lambs €5.00/5.20. Farmers rejecting lower quotes. Numbers tight.
  • Week ended July 26th. A total of 74,342 sheep were processed in Irish export plants. This is the largest throughput figure so far in 2020. Sheep slaughtering’s for 2020 are up 1,583,934 head which is 6% up on 2019 figures.
  • Select and Sell. Very strong trade for suitable ewe lambs. The advice is as always – move lambs as they become fit. Light to medium weight stores making good prices too.
  • UK Lamb Prices. Lamb price for last week was £4.78/kg, which equates to €5.29/kg. Northern Ireland lamb prices are currently averaging €5.10/kg (£4.61/kg).
  • Imported Lambs. IFA actively pursuing the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to publish statistics on lambs being imported into Ireland.
  • IFA will commence the campaign lobbying for the €30 per ewe payment at the end of August.
  • IFA will continue to publish lamb prices twice weekly and all of the latest data is on

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